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Publisher's Summary

A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright's remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States.
The Looming Tower achieves an unprecedented level of intimacy and insight by telling the story through the interweaving lives of four men: the two leaders of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri; the FBI's counterterrorism chief, John O'Neill; and the former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal.
As these lives unfold, we see revealed:

The crosscurrents of modern Islam that helped to radicalize Zawahiri and bin Laden
The birth of al-Qaeda and its unsteady development into an organization capable of the American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the attack on the USS Cole
O'Neill's heroic efforts to track al-Qaeda before 9/11, and his tragic death in the World Trade towers
Prince Turki's transformation from bin Laden's ally to his enemy
The failures of the FBI, CIA, and NSA to share intelligence that might have prevented the 9/11 attacks

The Looming Tower broadens and deepens our knowledge of these signal events by taking us behind the scenes. Here is Sayyid Qutb, founder of the modern Islamist movement, lonely and despairing as he meets Western culture up close in 1940s America; the privileged childhoods of bin Laden and Zawahiri; family life in the al-Qaeda compounds of Sudan and Afghanistan; O'Neill's high-wire act in balancing his all-consuming career with his equally entangling personal life - he was living with three women, each of them unaware of the others' existence - and the nitty-gritty of turf battles among US intelligence agencies.
Brilliantly conceived and written, The Looming Tower draws all elements of the story into a galvanizing narrative that adds immeasurably to our understanding of how we arrived at September 11, 2001. The richness of its new information, and the depth of its perceptions, can help us deal more wisely and effectively with the continuing terrorist threat.
©2006 Lawrence Wright (P)2017 Random House Audio
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Critic Reviews

"A searing view of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, a view that is at once wrenchingly intimate and boldly sweeping in its historical perspective...a narrative history that possesses all the immediacy and emotional power of a novel, an account that indelibly illustrates how the political and the personal, the public and the private were often inextricably intertwined." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
"Important, gripping...One of the best books yet on the history of terrorism." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Comprehensive and compelling...Wright has written what must be considered a definitive work on the antecedents to 9/11...Essential for an understanding of that dreadful day." ( Kirkus)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By S Foster on 12-10-17

The Looming Tower

A very detailed writing of the murders and people in our government who allowed 9/11 to happen.
CIA and FBI could not cooperate and help each other eve though they both had valid, pertinent information.
Mr Wright writes and speaks so well of the time before 9/11.
Excellent book.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

By paul ogburn on 12-04-17

Very Detailed

Easy to listen to and fallow, not overly flooded with jargon and complected facts that would require additional research just to keep up.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By UGA Fan on 10-31-17

Required Reading (Listening!)

This is Al Qa’ida 101, absolute definitive account of the emergence of Usama Bin Laden and AQ. I found the background on Sayyid Qutb and the emergence of political Islam particularly illuminating. Lawrence’s account of 9/11 was harrowing, a very emotional reading that had me tearing up as I listened.

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By Chris N. on 09-13-17

Great stuff.. Detailed and gripping.

. Heart breaking catalogue of Bureaucratic hostility between the CIA and FBI And more....

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Customer Reviews

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By Anonymous User on 05-25-17


so much detail, background and insight into Osama and events leading up to 9/11. This book answers so many questions I had and is an amazing listen.

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