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The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
In The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright pulls together years of evidence to reconstruct the events that led to 9/11. He follows the actions of many people whose actions, or inaction, had an effect on the events that occured on that day. He follows four people in particular, tracing their pasts and path to 9/11. These are Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahri (his second-in-command and alleged architect of the 9/11 attacks), Prince Turki al-Faisal (former head of Saudi intelligence), and FBI Special Agent John O'Neill (who died in the World Trade Center attacks). He details how bin Laden built his empire and used his wealth and friendships to buy influence in Sudan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, how Turki al-Faisal tried to track down and cripple the Islamist organizations, and how the internecine mistrust among the NSA, CIA, and FBI caused them to refuse to share or recognize information from those concerned about possible attacks from Al-Qaeda. The Looming Tower has received positive reviews with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette saying, "Wright, operating as an independent journalist, has written a balanced account of what has become a central fact in our age, the deadly threat of religious extremists for whom life is meaningless. We should have no illusions after reading this book."