Lawrence Wright’s Trip to Al-Qaeda
I don’t know how to decide which are the most important books. But I think this may be one of them.
I read the Pulitzer Prize winning The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright just days after it was published. I could not put it down. I have read two of his earlier books: In the New World (Growing Up in America, 1960-1984) should be a must read for anyone who wants to understand Dallas, and Saints and Sinners, an absolutely gripping read.
Here is an excerpt from The Looming Tower:
In so many respects, the Trade Center dead formed a kind of universal parliament, representing sixty-two countries and nearly every ethnic group and religion in the world. There was an ex-hippie stockbroker, the gay Catholic Chaplain of the New York City Fire Department, a Japanese hockey player, and Ecuadoran sous chef, a Barbie Doll collector, a vegetarian calligrapher, a Palestinian accountant…. The manifold ways in which they attached to life testified to the Quranic injunction that the taking of a single life destruys a universes. Al-Quada had aimed its attacks at America, but it struck all of humanity.
Tonight, HBO will debut the new film based on his one-man play, My Trip To Al-Qaeda. (I saw him present an earlier version here in Dallas). Read the synopsis and watch the trailer on the HBO site here.
If you haven’t read the book, it is absolutely worth your time. And I suspect the HBO version of his play will also help you understand.
(By the way, Mr. Wright wrote the script for the movie, The Siege, with Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, and Annette Bening. It came out in 1998, but was the most rented movie shortly after the 9/11 attack).
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