Author(s): Lawrence WrightDownload
La torre elevada narra la increíble historia de varios hombres cuyos destinos se entrecruzan y confluyen de forma dramática el 11 de septiembre de 2001. Con una precisión poco común, sustentada en más de quinientas entrevistas realizadas a lo largo de cinco años, nos describe el auge del fundamentalismo islámico, la creación de al-Qaeda y los errores cometidos por los confiados servicios de inteligencia que culminaron en el atentado de las Torres Gemelas. Lawrence Wright recrea de modo excepcional la transformación de Osama bin Laden y Ayman al-Zawahiri de combatientes idealistas e incompetentes en Afganistán a líderes del grupo terrorista más importante de la historia; y sigue de cerca a John O’Neill, jefe de la sección de contraterrorismo del FBI y uno de los pocos agentes estadounidenses que comprendió, ya en los años noventa, la magnitud de la amenaza que representaba dicha organización. Lleno de información, con una profunda perspectiva histórica, este es el mejor libro escrito sobre los orígenes de al-Qaeda y el atentado que cambió el curso de la historia.Esta edición incluye un epílogo del autor con motivo del décimo aniversario de los atentados del 11-S, la evolución de al-Qaeda y la muerte de Bin Laden.«El libro del año.» JOHN LE CARRÉ«Literatura como verdad.» ANTONIO MUÑOZ MOLINA«Ganó el Premio Pulitzer. Su fuerza tremenda reside en el relato de los hechos y de sus orígenes, de los procesos mediante los cuales hombres corrientes eligen matar y morir en nombre de delirios arcaicos; y de cómo las ideas más dementes llegan a convertirse paso a paso en actos que cambian el curso del mundo y que podían haberse evitado.» ANTONIO MUÑOZ MOLINA«La torre elevada es el mejor libro que se ha escrito sobre Bin Laden, su relación con al-Zawahiri y el 11-S.» El País
Some Reviews: 2370 in Goodreads.com
The author spent five years interviewing people throughout the Middle East and United States, examining the events leading up to September 11th, 2001, and portions of this book have appeared in The New Yorker over the past couple of years. The overall book is a rare combination of gripping story-telling and thoughtful perspective.
Where the book really shines is the personal, political and religious insight that it gives into motivations of the terrorists, as well as the American bureaucracy and intelligence agencies that failed to stop them. It describes the experience of Sayyid Qutb, the intellectual father of the Muslim Brotherhood, and how his experience in 1940’s America left him radicalized; the privileged upbringings of Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, and their subsequent radicalization in the Soviet-Afghan and Egyptian prisons, respectively. Many of the eventual hijackers and terrorists are described in rich stories from their families and acquaintances, to develop a picture of why many well-educated and affluent youth join Islamic jihad movements.
As the terrorist movements grow in momentum and scope, the book also describes the missed clues and complacency of the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities to stop Al-Qaeda, despite the bombings of the U.S. embassies and the U.S. Cole. Again, the interactions between FBI and CIA, including the driven and complex FBI agent John O’Neill, counter-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke, Ali Soufan, and others, show how much personal histories, perspectives, and relationships affect their practical and political effectiveness.
Other reviews can be found here.
I enjoyed the TV show based on this book and thought I’d give it a shot, even though I normally don’t read nonfiction. It was awarded the Pulitzer prize so I knew it would be good, but I didn’t know it would grab me as much as it did. I LOVED it. I hadn’t felt so excited about reading in a long time. I don’t know if it’s the subject matter or the author, but it was just fascinating, super informative, and flowed so effortlessly. The tv show covers maybe one chapter, relating to the FBI and CIA, while the book mainly focuses on the background of al-Qaeda. I’ve been googling so many terror related references that I must be in some watchlist by now. Super recommended.
I picked up this book shortly after it was released in ’06 and it quickly became the cornerstone of my top five books* you must read to understand American’s enemy in the world today. A wonderful and engaging book that I can’t recommend highly enough.
Another great narrative non-fiction book. Wright really gets to the heart of Al-Qaeda, specifically its leaders and predecessors. The most suprising thing, to me, about these radical Muslim leaders, is that their hatred for the West, according to Wright, stems more from a moral indignation than politics. I always shuddered when I heard the neocons say that “They hurt us because they hate the way we live.” It turns out that may have more truth to it than I thought.
“The Looming Tower” begins with an account of Sayyid Qutb’s brief stay in the US in the 50s. Qutb, an Egyptian Muslim intellectual – who attended college and mingled freely with American intellectual – felt that the American way was sinful to such a point that it inspired him to write of the damnation of the West and the need to restore the old Muslim hegemony of the Caliphate. Zawahiri and bin-Laden are much indebted to Qutb for bringing many ancient radical Muslim practices – that allow the slaughter of other Muslims and innocents – into the modern world.
Needless to say Al-Qaeda’s story is interesting and terrifying. Wright weaves in the story of John O’Neill, the FBI agent most aware of Al-Qaeda’s threat to the US before 9/11.
Wright brings drama and tension to the narrative without overdoing it, and that is quite an accomplishment.
It’s not often deserving books win the Pulitzer. This is one of them.
Here, Wright tells the story of Al-Qaeda’s birth and its long, knotted road to the 9/11 attacks. It’s as readable as any thriller, but backed up by painstaking research, some taken from files on a recovered Al-Qaeda computer.
Wright reminds you just how improbable human beings are, and their history. The teenage Bin Laden was addicted to the TV show Bonanza. When holed up in Afghan caves, he enjoyed watching his younger children play Nintendo.
The obsessive FBI agent who spent the last years of his career trying and failing to convince the U.S. government of the threat Bin Laden posed was later found in the rubble of the Twin Towers, where he’d gone to work after being ‘retired’ from the bureau.
Al-Qaeda operatives whooped for joy after purchasing what they thought was enriched uranium, only to learn it was merely Red Mercury – the nuclear equivalent of Fool’s Gold.
I also recommend Wright’s recent book Going Clear, a blistering expose of Scientology.
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