May 17, 11
Read in May, 2011
This should be required reading for every high school or college student in the US. This and Steve Coll's great "Ghost Wars" would be wonderful companion pieces for anyone wanting a fairly nuanced and in-depth understanding of Al-Qaeda, bin Laden, and US foreign policy with regards to terrorism in the Middle East. It does more than just regurgitate facts (as many lesser books in this ever-expanding category do), and does a great job laying out some of the major figures on the "bad guy" side. You get a look into motivations for some early radicals, and Wright is a very talented author. The writing never drags or gets bogged down, and he does a very good job balancing things so as to not overwhelm you at any point.
The book does have a few points that could be emotional for people. A short excerpt of a letter from a victim of the 9/11 attacks to his young son about what it means to be American is very powerful. Also, some of the failures of the CIA and FBI to work together because dick measuring contests were more important than stopping terrorism are very troubling indeed.