Monday, November 9, 2015

Wright, Lawrence (The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11)

I have so very much to say about this book. I grilled the folks in my book club when we read Wright's book on Scientology (Going Clear) - is this sensationalist journalism? does he lay out his facts well? does he repeat himself ad nauseam (something I really abhor in non-fiction)? The answers were all no, yes, and no. And I loved that book. It was time to try another one of his.

What I think I admire the most about this book, but one that others may find drags the story out a bit too long, is that he starts way, way back. Back to the original Islamic fundamentalist thoughts and the original writings. He wants to lay the background as best he can for why 9/11 happened, and this is key to doing that. He also works hard to differentiate between Islam and fundamentalism, how the split occurred, why it occurred, and where all the faults lie (and they lie all over the world).

Even more intriguingly, he paints a picture of the Muslim world in both its faults and its beauty, and it allows us to see the strength of the religion and the myriad difficulties it encountered in living within a political structure. Hey, the western world knows what that's about! Consequently, Wright's description resonates very well with any American reading his book.

You will shake your head constantly while reading this book (and for a whole variety of reasons) but it's one of those that should be read by everyone, everywhere.

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