The Looming Tower Book Review


The Looming Tower” is a book that reflects on the various characters that were at the center of the September 9/11 attacks in the United States. The book by Lawrence Wright is one of the most read books that depict the activities and events of the masterminds behind the horror attack and the leaders in the FBI and CIA in charge of the case. Lawrence Wright is a screenwriter, an author and a writer for the New Yorker Magazine. The book “The Looming Tower” is non-fiction and it comprises of 480 pages, published in 2006 by Alfred Knopf.  Lawrence Wright is a professional writer focusing on non-fiction works, is a graduate in English with a Masters in Applied Linguistics and was a teacher before becoming a professional writer (Wright, 1). The writer collects information from different materials that base on the facts that lead to the most orchestrated attacks in the world. It is evident in the book that the United States invited numerous Muslim in the 1950s to help form allies against the communist Russia that would later turn to backfire after they returned home. Egypt and Saudi Arabia had become radicals, and it was building up, and most people that went back home would then convert to anti-West.


The various characters in the book include Sayyid Qutb, one of the learned people that study in the West, and upon returning home, he denounced their beliefs and contributed to the formation of the Islamic Group. Ayman al-Zawahiri is another individual of interest and was a local individual until joining the leadership of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad before heading to the Al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden is the most popular person that came from a wealthy family growing up in Saudi Arabia helped with the organization of the Jihad against Russia. Osama had the most contributions and a point of focus in the book because of his contributions to numerous terrorist attacks across the world (Wright, 18).  The book focuses on the then FBU assistant deputy director John P. O’Neill and Richard A. Clarke a counterterrorism adviser on the U.S. National Security Council. The book also shows the difference in ideologies, lack of participation and collaboration from both the CIA and FBI that contributed to the success of the September 9/11 attacks.

The author uses a formal tone because the story comprises of facts and details of different events in a chronological manner. The book comprises of actual events and at the right time that helps in the success of the book because most readers prefer reading facts especially on issues such as terrorism. The author manages to connect the various pieces of evidence and come up with a convincing piece that would later revolutionize the way people view the activities that led to the historic attacks in the United States. According to Wright, the evolution of the people that led to the attacks in 2001 took over 50 years while they grew and developed. The various security organizations failed to keep up with the escalation of some of the masterminds and influences in the Middle East that led to the changing of the people’s ideologies (103). The author displays his understanding of the subject and the investigation that led to the success of the people that made it easier for the different parties to function and win over the other parties.

The author is fluent and composed through the writing that makes it easier for the reader to follow and catch up with the story. The reader would have an understanding of the book even before they make the plea about the general idea because the author is flowing and is fluent. It is easy to tell that the author has the proper information, especially about how he displays it with the story building and introducing the different character before making the final assumption of showing how they all connect. The author’s voice is informative and appears to report on the issues that make it easier to meet their different needs that make it easy to come up with changes that would influence the people’s perception. The author has a good grasp on the ideas in the book because he changes the characters and still manages to maintain the tempo of the story while he executes it well, making it easier to read.


The book has its strengths that include the connection of different characters that have different roles in the same story. The author manages to introduce the characters from the different side of the topic, but still manage to come up with an interesting story.  It is easy for any individual to start reading the story from the first paragraph, sticks to it without having the intentions because it is catchy, and has an interesting order of stories in the works. The book is non-fiction, and it manages to maintain the proper flow without losing the story because of favoritism and the sensitivity of the information. The book displays some of the connections that an individual might fail to see and come up with changes that would then make it easy to come up with challenges. The story appears to have a chronological flow right from the start of the problem of the current terrorism and their negativity towards their West, and this is important because the reader can connect and understand the story from the beginning to the end of the book (Hardy, 47).


The fact that the story depends on the true events from different sources does not give the reader the opportunity to view the creativity of the author. The author focuses on the chronological events from the formation of the radical Muslims that started influencing the Middle East and pushing people to turn against them (Hardy, 46). A historical reader that is up to date with the events might fail to find the thrill while reading the book because there are facts and documents on the various characters and the events in the libraries and the internet. It is easy for an individual to read from end to end without finding the thrill instead they will gain information about the different incidents that make it a challenge to meet their different needs. The author provides little creativity because of the paper revolving on the facts that make it a challenge to display his prowess on the topic.

Personal Opinion

I liked the book because it revolves around facts and true events and the author manages to carve it into one of the best pieces of the time. I found different parts of the book interesting such as the fact that some of the radicals in the book have a history with the Western countries and they got their knowledge and influence of the countries. Also, the fact some of the security agencies in the country failed to keep up with the radicalization and realizing the impacts it would bring to the country was also an interesting part especially because the author displays it with some form of disappointing. The country has one of the best security agencies in the world, and it fails to keep up with people of interests or to come up with scenarios of their actions and help prevent the potential outcome. The least favorite part in the book was the ending because I would have made changes that would help the reader understand the different perceptions of the various characters and how at the end there was a winner and a loser.


I would recommend the book to people that love history, thriller and factual readings because the book combines all the different concepts. Also, it is easy for any person to read the book because it touches on numerous fields and aspects of life, thus it is a book for any person interested in learning or reading it for the sake of enjoying some good reads. The author manages to write an interesting book that any individual can read, especially because of the varied opinions on the subject of terrorism and the involvement of the Americans in their demise. The author manages to build a story that became one of the most read in the United States on a story that each person has a clue, but it depends more on his portrayal of the subject making it easier to understand the topic.


Works Cited

Hardy, Roger. “A Long and Bloody Crusade.” New Statesman, vol. 135, no. 4807, 28 Aug. 2006, pp. 46-48.

Wright, Lawrence. The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda’s Road to 9/11. Alfred A. Knopf, Publishers, New York: 2006. Print.

Wright, Lawrence. Lawrence Wright: The Contributors. The New Yorker.



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