Tim's Reviews > The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
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's review
Jan 22, 2010

it was amazing

A sober, illuminating recounting of the long road to the 9-11 terrorist act. The author begins with the emergence of a strand of Islamist thought and philosophy in Egypt soon after the state of Israel successfully defending its existance in 1948. The thread of thought was burnished in the prisons of Egypt, honed on the thought of purifying Islam within, and over 40 years leading to a focus outward against America as the recognized leader of Western thought and democracy.

Two points still speak through the complicated, fascinating story of individuals who are my cohorts in age. That the tortured reasoning that morphs the Koran teachings into the right of al-qaeda to kill innocents without pity, including suicide. It is sobering to realize that reasoning with this philosophy and its adherents is naive at best, however good intentioned that approach sounds and resonates.

The second, and sorry, theme is the bickering among US intelligence agencies and sense of arrogant apathy that hampered a few concerned agents from apprehending the hijackers living in the US for nearly a year before they struck. Names, faces, links, and histories were there in plain view - a chilling thought for the difficulties experienced even in 2009 in still putting pieces together.

This book was a loss of desired innocence that poverty and ignorance is at the heart of Islamic terrorism, when in fact the leadership has always been well educated (albeit narrowly) and relatively wealthy. The story silences simplistic thought, blandishments, and platitudes that would dismiss this threat as not in the same magnitude as Nazism.

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