The Looming Tower (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower is a masterful account of the events that culminated in al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. To relate the story as fully as possible, the author, in addition to using available published sources, interviewed over five hundred people. Wright readily admits that The Looming Tower is not the final accounting. At the time of writing, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s leaders, were in hiding, and the principal governments involved, notably Saudi Arabia and the United States, had information that has not been made available to Wright or any other investigator of the events of 9/11.
The title The Looming Tower comes from the Qurՙn. After the terrorist attack, in a tape belonging to a member of an al-Qaeda cell, bin Laden urged the future highjackers to embrace martyrdom and recited a passage from the Qurՙn’s fourth sura: “Wherever you are, death will find you,/ even in the looming tower.” In 1996 Osama bin Laden, a Saudi Arabian, openly declared war on the United States. Until then American authorities had largely ignored him, and there was only one FBI agent assigned to the bin Laden threat prior to that year. Hardly anyone in the American government took him seriously.
Wright begins his narrative with Salyyid Qutb, an Egyptian educator who visited the United States in 1948. He became convinced that there was a clash of civilizations between...
(The entire section is 1910 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Booklist 102, no. 22 (August 1, 2006): 34.
The Economist 380 (August 5, 2006): 74.
Foreign Affairs 85, no. 6 (November/December, 2006): 174-175.
Kirkus Reviews 74, no. 11 (June 1, 2006): 566.
Maclean’s 119, no. 38 (September 25, 2006): 84-85.
National Review 58, no. 16 (September 11, 2006): 46-48.
New Statesman 135 (August 28, 2006): 46-48.
The New York Review of Books 53, no. 16 (October 19, 2006): 12-15.
The New York Times 155 (August 1, 2006): E6.
The New York Times Book Review 155 (August 6, 2006): 1-9.
Publishers Weekly 253, no. 25 (June 19, 2006): 56.
(The entire section is 57 words.)