Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lawrence Wright: The Looming Tower

I can't help it. I read these books about the US failure to forsee and prevent/US contribution to radical Islamicism like they're going out of style. I like to understand current events, but more, I am a cynic. An optimistic cynic, sure, but a cynic who says "Duh, we should have known better." Duh, the US created enemies like THAT was going out of style. And it doesn't take some kind of radical leftist conspiracy theorist to see it.

Lawrence Wright's analysis and history of the 30 or so years leading up to 2001 is an evenhanded take on how various Arab governments and American inept foreign policies helped to make radical, fundemantal, and ultimately fringe Islam into a popular and dangerous worldview. Osama bin Laden went from a rich young son in an influential Saudi family to a destitute, charismatic, world leader with a murderous plot that admittedly included the killing of innocents. Wright outlined the turn of events that created this new persona of bin Laden's, and the institutional oversights that crippled the potential for the US to stop him. This book won the Pulitzer Prize. What else can I add to that?


Katie said...

I've heard elsewhere that this was an excellent book. It's on my list of books I mean to read someday.