The Looming Tower
Lawrence Wright’s acclaimed account of “al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11” (the subtitle) deserves much of the praise it has received, and has generally held up well since its publication in 2006. The amount of time given over to telling the story of special FBI agent Joseph O’Neil, however, is a waste, while the actual planning and execution of the 9/11 attacks is only sketchily described. Given how complex a business that was, some confusion results (I was driven to consult other sources for assistance on a few occasions). As a primer on the origins and ideology of al-Qaeda, however, this is an excellent place to start.