Customer Reviews for

The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 90 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    The Looming Tower: Al-Quaeda and the Road to 9/11

    Somebody, in the praise for this book found on the back cover, and I can not remember who it was, said this book ought to be required reading for every American. I completely agree with that statement. This is by far one of the best and most interesting Non-Fiction reads I have gotten my hands on in a very long time. And given the last few years, this is knowledge that would serve every one of us when thinking over the issues of the Middle East.<BR/><BR/>Unfolding almost like a novel, Wright takes us back to the 1940¿s and gets us acquainted with Qutb, the man often said to be the father of contemporary Islamic fundamentalism. And with extensive research and precise detail, he does on to unfold a very comprehensive, incredibly detailed and surprisingly understandable history of Al-Quaeda, Bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri.<BR/><BR/>Suddenly, a lot of the names that were brought up on the news all this time, gain some sort of root. Events that are often referenced now make sense, everything is put into perspective in a what that finally gives the reader a sense of understanding for a topic that is not only complex and intricate but it is based on an entirely different culture that needs to be understood in order to begin to see where men like those that make up Al-Qaeda come from.<BR/><BR/>Without ruining the book by pointing the finger and placing blame, Wright simply tells the facts and does his best to give the reader an picture that will make it easier to understand a number of foreign concepts that come into play.<BR/><BR/>And added into the mix, the author also adds in a few chapters dealing with men in the FBI and CIA that played crucial roles, particularly John O¿Neill who could have perhaps been the one person to prevent the calamities of 9/11.<BR/><BR/>Narrated in chronological order, this read is eye opening, suspenseful, detailed and at times both frightening and sickening. It takes you from the infancy of Al-Zawahiri and Bin Laden, it tells of the creations of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Jihad and Al-Qaeda and the eventual unification that became the deadly terrorist organization we know today.<BR/><BR/>Full of revelatory moments, I can not push this book enough. If you are at all interested in learning more about the subject, look no further, this book is the best start you could get!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2009

    Insight into Terrorism

    Somewhat of a slow read but very intellectually stimulating and provides a detailed story of how Al Qaeda was formed and how we got to 9/11.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    An Eye Opener on the Terrorist Challenges we face as a nation

    Lawrence Wright delivers an excellent work in this book presenting key figures and events explaining the modern day development of terrorism against Western nations. The deeper into the book you go, the more challenges you begin to understand in fighting an enemy who hates you because you do not believe and live as they do. I had read the 9/11 Commission Report and gleaned new insight on "how could the 9/11 tragedy occur?", but Wright's book was very thorough in revealing the path to the tragedy as the title indicates. Every American should read through this book to know what challenges our country will continue to face in the years ahead and to appreciate the need for a Homeland Security Department.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2007

    Get MAD

    It was a little confusing as to the Middle Eastern names.Mainly because most Americans are not familiar with them, including me. But...as you read about who knew what & when & whether or not anything was done about it, then you get MAD. The CIA, FBI, & NSA should be ashamed of themselves.I think everyone should read this.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2009

    The Looming Tower: What Good Journalism Is All About

    Lawrence Wright invested time and effort to get at the antecedents of a terrorist's development. We all would like to know what are the cultural forces that produce religious extremists. Mr Wright traces early leaders, writings, historical events that influenced those associated with al Queda. He reduces some of the mystery surrounding these people to the extent that we wish the CIA and FBI were as astute.

    I have read and re-read the 911 Commssion Report and many other shorter pieces by journalists. The Looming Tower is definitive.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 12, 2009

    Knowlede begats movement

    During my reading of the "The Looming Towers," Lawrence Wright continually presented intellectual stimuli. A page turner for sure. With my increased knowledge from the author's indepth research, I want movement to stop this evil machination ruled by despotism.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    Extraordinary Explanation of Terrorists

    Extraordinary and riveting. This book explains the development of Al-Qaeda in a readable, researched, historical story that changes your perspectives about the development of Al-Qaeda and our Government's response. Everyone should read this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    A primer on radical Islamism

    This is an incredible work which won a Pulitzer. It commences in 1948 at the movement's beginings and takes the reader to the present. It is an extraordinary story and writing. You'll be revulsed at how our CIA had info about the highjackers which they wouldn't share with our FBI. I had no idea how poorly our intelligence agencies protected us. This book is replete with information and provides references supporting it. I marvel at the scope of this author's work. It is truly an unforgetable book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    Well researched and balanced views.

    Scarier than any fictional work, to include The Exorcist!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2007

    Outstanding

    great book. reads really easy not like a boring history book at all. i read ghost wars and liked it but it was painful to read at times. this book is more of a page turner and helped me know more about the situation.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    If you only read one book that traces the roots of militant and radical Islam, to include summarized bios of key figures of al-Qaeda, this is it. I consider myself a terrorism buff and this is by far the best book that explains how Islamic fundementalists evolved into the radical force that it is today and how bid Laden and his associates created al-Qaeda and their activities leading up to 9/11. In addition the author reveals how involved the various government agenicies were in tracking bin Laden and how an 'information sharing wall' and interagency rivalries likely allowed the 9/11 plot to proceed undetected...enough. Meaning.....each agency had key and alarming information that if shared with each other most likely would have stopped 9/11. This book is a HUGE must read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2010

    Excellent work

    I was putting off this book because I thought it would be too technical and boring. I was amazed how wrong I was about this book. I have really enjoyed reading this book. Lawrence Wright did an excellent job tracking down people who had personal insight in the growth of Al Qaeda and those who tried to bring them down prior to 9/11. I have been reading about Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations for a while now and I found this to be one of the most informative books on the subject with an interesting story to keep me interested from beginning to end. I would highly recommend this book for someone trying to gain understanding and insight to why Al Qaeda was formed and why it took so long for the USA to figure out that a lot of other attacks were Al Qaeda operatives. It gave insight to how the federal government agencies do not share information that has cost so many Amercian lives. Make time to read it. I cannot help but wonder what else Al Qaeda has planned that the federal government knows but is not sharing with those in charge to make it stop.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2010

    The Looming Tower

    I had to read this book for my World Politics and Organization class last semester. At first I wasn't thrilled about reading more information about 9/11. However, this book was different. It gives you so much information that many people would never know about leading up to the events of 9/11. I would recommend this book to any who had an interest in Islamic culture or who is interested in 9/11.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2007

    Steady Diet of Hate

    Once I started I couldn't put it down. It is a gripping tail of how 1 man can slowly and steadily start a revolution. Rally the poor and feed them a steady diet of hate for anyone different then they. The Quran was changed to meet their needs or worked around. No free will thinking allowed, how sad. What I found most disturbing was the US Governmant agencies not cooperating with each other with 9/11 the deadly result. Should be required reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    Religious zealotry, poverty, repression and cheap weapons are critical elements for any terrorist group, but in the hands of a charismatic leader they can foment a formidable movement. That¿s how millionaire Osama bin Laden revived an archaic form of Islam to confront contemporary Muslims, modernity and Western culture. Lawrence Wright richly describes the people and events, including mismanaged U.S. intelligence information, which led to numerous attacks on U.S. interests ¿ culminating, of course, in the destruction of the World Trade Center. This disturbing book explaining the prospects of a long-term jihad has all the elements of a crime thriller, except it is real. We consider this essential reading for anyone interested in terrorism, current events and how the forces of radical terrorism hope to shape the decades ahead.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2007

    Highly recommend

    This book grabs one's interest by first deliving back decades before Osama bin Laden was even born. It is here the author reveals important historical events which paved the way for al-Qaeda's hatred towards the West. My only complaint is that the author often displays details in a hazy manner. However, given the natural mystique of al-Qaeda, it may be seen as understandable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2007

    Very informative and knowledgeable read

    A indepth look at how this terror organization got it's political views from the Muslim Brotherhood of Eygpt. This book gives the average American a better understanding of why they hate us so much and why we should continue to do EVERYTHING in our power to put an end to these sub-human scabs of man. I hope we never let up on tracking and killing all of those involved in this type of idealogy. Maybe we should fight fire with fire. Eye for an eye.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2006

    al-Qaeda 101

    This is a book both Liberals and Conservatives can enjoy. That is because author Lawrence Wright has meticulously avoided placing blame on either political party or any specific administration. However, that is not to say he does not lay blame. His aim was to explain the facts and the history engulfing al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attack. He does so in such an interesting and enjoyable manner that the only reason one might set down The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 is simply because of its sheer bulk. This 470-paged hardback begins with an often referred to map of the Middle East and ends with footnotes stretching over forty pages, an eight page lay-out featuring the 'Principal Characters', a nine page bibliography, a half-dozen page list of interviews the author conducted, a six page 'Acknowledgment and Notes and Sources' section with the book wrapping up with the usual number of 'Index' pages. The body of the The Looming Tower covers some 383 pages, not including the sixteen pages of excellent black and white photographs, backed up by almost 100 pages of footnotes and such, evidences a book obviously well-researched. Have no fear anti-footnote fans, because author Wright, other than placing the rare smaller-font footnote sentences on the page itself, there are none of the superscripted '1', '2', '3', to drive you batty while reading. All the notes are in the final pages and it is up to the reader to remember to occasionally flip back and read only those of interest. The book delves into the history of Islam, Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda. It ventures into Afghanistan, the Taliban, the Sudan and even elucidates exactly why Germany is a haven for international terrorists. It reveals how closely tied the bin Laden family was to the ruling family of Saud with Mohammed bin Ladin (Osama's father) once having loaned the government money to pay the bills. (Conspiracy fans note that in March of 1994 Osama bin Laden's Saudi Arabian citizenship was revoked and he was forced to personally hand-over his Saudi passport.) The book explains the Quran as it was written and how 'fundamentalist' Muslims such as Sayyid Qutb, Osama bin Laden and others have perverted and rewritten it for their own nefarious and murderous purposes. It defines the meaning and the source of such unknown-to-Americans words as jahiliyya, muttawa, Sharia, and the Mahdi. It documents that Osama did little actual fighting in Afghanistan and how most Arab radicals who traveled there to battle were told to go home by the leaders of the Afghan Northern Alliance. But most of all, the book leaves little doubt of the fact that between the NSA, the CIA and the FBI, enough was known that the 9/11 Tragedy might have been averted. However due to inter-agency rivalries, towering egos fueled by too much testosterone, and a vaguely written federal law, thousands of individuals perished and billions of dollars were consumed. If you cannot decide on which book to read in order to educate yourself about al-Qaeda, the foundations of the 9/11 tragedy, the War on Terror and basic Muslim beliefs, I can assure you this is the one.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    Good book

    It's a good read and I found it very interesting. It gives allot of back story about Al-Qaeda and that horrible day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    Good book.

    It was hard to get in to the book, but it got bettet later. Great book to read to have a bettet undestanding of what,how, and why we fight.

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