The Looming Tower

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Member Reviews

Sorry I just couldn’t get into this book. It was a bit too slow and didn’t keep me focused. Maybe because I’m used to more of a thriller
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I had read excerpts of ‘The Looming Tower’ in the ‘New Yorker,’ but didn’t get around to reading the whole book until recently. What a story!  It isn’t merely a breathtaking account of the events leading up to 9/11, it’s a skilful examination of the lives of the main characters. Osama bin Laden is part of the narrative, of course, but there’s also Sayyid Qutb, who studied in the US in the 1940s and came to hate its decadence. The flawed FBI agent John O’Neill recognised early on the threat posed by al Qaeda but his warnings were tragically ignored. Wright interviewed hundreds of people for this book and his thoroughness of his reporting shows. ‘The Looming Tower’ is also a stylish read. I haven’t seen the Hulu miniseries but I understand that it’s narrower than the book, focusing on America’s war on terror.
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This book gives incredible detail on the background of Al Qaeda, starting with an Egyptian who, in 1948, moved to America. The book's first part focuses on the creation, merging and dissolution of various Islamic groups, against the background of the creation of Israel, the Six Day War and Soviet and US 'occupations' of Middle Eastern countries. The second part looks at the FBI and CIA investigations into terrorism, and how bureaucracy ended up preventing the identification of the 9/11 plot. Although it was a long and detailed book, it was so well-written that reading it never felt like a chore. The multiple viewpoints of people, and groups' motivations, made this a fascinating read.
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With these kind of books it is always hard to tell reality from the author's view on it. I had the same feeling with this book, the "conspiracy theory" feeling came up. I can be wrong or I can be right but I was left with a feeling of "what's right and what's wrong?, how much can I believe?"

The story itself was well written, looks like it was well researched and provided loads of background info.

Never the less I'd advise each reader to use his / hers intelligence and question everything in this book.
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This is a very well researched, detailed and objective history of the rise of the fundamentalists, al-Qaeda and events that eventually led to 9/11. It is a little hefty in terms of size, but impossible to put down once you have started.
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The series of events leading up to 9/11 and the day itself remains shocking and unthinkable. I remember hearing about it on the radio just days after I gave birth to my son and not quite being able to take it in. The images on the news of the planes, the towers, the dust the people... I’ve always wondered how much of the news coverage since 9/11 can be traced to that day and everything that lead up to it.

The Looming Tower breaks down those barriers in my understanding and I would urge anyone to read and gain understanding of why it happened and what occurred to prevent vital information from coming to light about the plot to crash planes into the Twin Towers, until it was too late, The Looming Tower is a substantial and informative read which delivers a vast cast of characters, crossing many decades and many miles of the globe.

The Looming Tower contains a huge amount of information here, clearly incredibly well researched and - if you sadly didn't know better - you could believe it to be a novel. If you are going to put the novels aside just for once, this should be the book you do it for.
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What an insight into such an appalling situation. The looming tower " provides astonishing insights into what the government knew prior to that fateful day. The research for this book is amazing.informative and fascinating. This book makes us all realise just how the security services need to pull together more. Highly Recommended.
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I loved this book, and went to buy a print copy for a friend when I discovered I bought this book in paperback form in 2007. Presumably this is an updated version. Having said that, I was captivated from the first page. I have also been interested in the rise of fanaticism, and this shows how small incidents can change the whole course of events, and from that the world. An excellent lesson in history, easy to read, and very compelling
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Thank you to netgalley.com for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

To be honest, when I received an email, I didn't think I would enjoy this novel only because I don't tend to read non-fiction books about war. But I had seen a lot of great reviews about this novel so I thought I would give it a shot, I am glad I did. Wright does a fantastic job in this novel of being able to thoroughly explain what has been going on in the Middle East. He talks the reader through messy relationship between America and the Middle East in a way really got me interested in the whole affair. A great, interesting book overall and if you have an interest in this sort of stuff I would strongly recommend it to you.
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Incredibly thought provoking whilst also dealing with such a subject which has affected so many. Great read
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Balanced and readable account of the rise .. education and cultural adjustments included - of a man hung for radical terrorism .. the amazing thing is that the author manageS to get inside his head, and present contexts that are insightful about how this came about and the possible commission by the very freedom-loving and religious ethos he supposedly searched for .. his perpetual disappointment with the West on ground we might even agree with is refreshing look... his career afterwards is in a straight line toward radicalism and then submission that has to be reckoned with due to its intelligence. An important book to be widely read..
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Sorry, I really couldn’t get into this book. I have given it two stars because the author seems to have put a tremendous amount of research into it but I found it too hard going.
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"The Looming Tower" by Lawrence Wright was an interesting read but... since it was advertised as a book on which the Amazon tv series was based, I expected it to read more like fiction. Instead, the book was more of a history lesson, with hardly any dialogues and just bare facts. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. I was simply expecting something different.
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I have morbid fascination with terrorism and the reasons people behind it do what they do, but I have always wanted to learn more about their motivations and the ties to religion. It's crucial in today's world that more of us have an understanding of why this is happening, especially with events such as 9/11. Religion, politics and foreign policy are all of interest to me, all three feature in "The Looming Tower" in a large way.

Make no mistake, this is a challenging read! It could be categorised as a "non-fiction thriller" as it is a compelling and information rich book. I also found it highly thought-provoking and an eye- opener, Lawrence Wright certainly knows his stuff. The writing is exquisite and immensely detailed from the word go. Wright has clearly done a lot of research on this topic

I had no idea that the book had been made into a TV series but I plan on watching it and seeing how it compares. This is a topic that more people should be interested in learning, as it does impact us all and will for the foreseeable future.

Many thanks to Penguin Books (UK) for an ARC. I was not required to post a review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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I really struggled to get into this book. As a subject matter, I was really interested, but it was such hard going, that I found myself not looking forward to reading it. In saying that though, it was very well written and I applaud the author for taking on such a difficult topic.
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5/5 on good reads. 
This tells a story based on 9/11. Extremely gripped by this. Most people will remember the events and the confusion and the whys and hows. So if you find this an interesting area of modern history definitely buy this book!
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Wow, what a really heavy going book this was.  I really struggled to read it fully and found myself more skim reading it instead.  On reading other comments, it might work better as a TV programme than as a book where they can sift out the less relevant stuff and bring the more important information to the front.
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If you've seen and loved  the gripping series based on this book then you'll absolutely find this book an incredible read.
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I tried a couple of times but was out of my comfort zone here l wanted to learn more but could not finish - however it may we’ll be a book l will return to in time
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Although the extract to this book sparked my interest I am sorry to say that I did not finish the book. If the events had not already happened it would have confused me even more.  I suppose this is more a book to be read by other academics rather than the  ordinary public.
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