Extended Audio Sample

Download The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 Audiobook, by Lawrence Wright Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (6,149 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lawrence Wright Narrator: Lawrence Wright Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2017 ISBN: 9780525529736
Regular Price: $25.00 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $20.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright’s remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States.

The Looming Tower achieves an unprecedented level of intimacy and insight by telling the story through the interweaving lives of four men: the two leaders of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri; the FBI’s counterterrorism chief, John O’Neill; and the former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal.

As these lives unfold, we see revealed: the crosscurrents of modern Islam that helped to radicalize Zawahiri and bin Laden . . . the birth of al-Qaeda and its unsteady development into an organization capable of the American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the attack on the USS Cole . . . O’Neill’s heroic efforts to track al-Qaeda before 9/11, and his tragic death in the World Trade towers . . . Prince Turki’s transformation from bin Laden’s ally to his enemy . . . the failures of the FBI, CIA, and NSA to share intelligence that might have prevented the 9/11 attacks.

The Looming Tower broadens and deepens our knowledge of these signal events by taking us behind the scenes. Here is Sayyid Qutb, founder of the modern Islamist movement, lonely and despairing as he meets Western culture up close in 1940s America; the privileged childhoods of bin Laden and Zawahiri; family life in the al-Qaeda compounds of Sudan and Afghanistan; O’Neill’s high-wire act in balancing his all-consuming career with his equally entangling personal life—he was living with three women, each of them unaware of the others’ existence—and the nitty-gritty of turf battles among U.S. intelligence agencies.

Brilliantly conceived and written, The Looming Tower draws all elements of the story into a galvanizing narrative that adds immeasurably to our understanding of how we arrived at September 11, 2001. The richness of its new information, and the depth of its perceptions, can help us deal more wisely and effectively with the continuing terrorist threat. Download and start listening now!

bdj0

Quotes & Awards

  • Dozens of intricately reported books about 9/11 are already available; I had read perhaps half of them [before] starting The Looming Tower. But Lawrence Wright’s book is my new touchstone. None of the previous books led me to say ‘Aha, now I think I understand’ as frequently. Steve Weinberg, The Boston Globe
  • “A magisterial, beautifully crafted narrative . . . This focus on character, along with Wright’s five years of fierce on-the-ground reporting (he lists 560 interviewees), pays off. Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, Los Angeles Times
  • A searing view of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, a view that is at once wrenchingly intimate and boldly sweeping in its historical perspective . . . a narrative history that possesses all the immediacy and emotional power of a novel, an account that indelibly illustrates how the political and the personal, the public and the private were often inextricably intertwined. Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
  • Important, gripping . . . One of the best books yet on the history of terrorism. Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • Lawrence Wright provides a graceful and remarkably intimate set of portraits of the people who brought us 9/11. It is a tale of extravagant zealotry and incessant bumbling that would be merely absurd if the consequences were not so grisly. Gary Sick
  • Lawrence Wright's integrity and diligence as a reporter shine through every page of this riveting narrative. Robert A. Caro
  • A towering achievement. One of the best and more important books of recent years. Lawrence Wright has dug deep into and written well a story every American should know. A masterful combination of reporting and writing. Dan Rather
  • Comprehensive and compelling…Wright has written what must be considered a definitive work on the antecedents to 9/11…Essential for an understanding of that dreadful day. starred Kirkus review
  • “Don’t read The Looming Tower in bed. This book requires a straight spine and full attention . . . The reporting is so good that it will matter in 100 years. Wright’s determined, disciplined work has made his book indispensable. “ —Karen Long, The Plain Dealer
  • “Brilliant . . . describes the contorted intellectual journey that has taken place among some Muslims which allows a holy book that appears to condemn suicide and the killing on innocents to be used to justify catastrophic terrorism. Stephen Fidler, Financial Times
  • A magisterial, beautifully crafted narrative . . . This focus on character, along with Wright’s five years of fierce on-the-ground reporting (he lists 560 interviewees), pays off. Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, Los Angeles Times
  • Deeply researched . . . immaculately crafted. Peter Bergen, The Wall Street Journal
  • What a riveting tale Lawrence Wright fashions in this marvelous book.  ‘The Looming Tower’ is not just a detailed, heart-stopping account of the events leading up to 9/11, written with style and verve.  [It’s] a thoughtful examination of the world that produced the men who brought us 9/11, and of their progeny who bedevil us today.   The portrait of John O’Neill, the driven, demon-ridden F.B. I. agent who worked so frantically to stop Osama bin Laden, only to perish in the attack on the World Trade Center, is worth the price of the book alone.   ‘The Looming Tower’ is a thriller.  And it’s a tragedy, too. Dexter Filkins, The New York Times Book Review cover
  • Powerful and important . . . a history of a man and a movement, replete with the accidents of history and historic inevitability. Kevin Horrigan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • “A page-turner . . . encompassing religion, politics, economics and more. If you’ve been meaning to sharpen your understanding of what all led up to September 11, 2001, then Wright may have written just what you’ve been waiting for. Tom Gallagher, San Francisco Chronicle

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deirdre | 2/13/2014

    " very important read. informative and incredibly engaging "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gene Derow | 2/11/2014

    " Highly informative and illuminating narrative of the origins of Al-Qaeda,a real primer for the uninitiated. This book is timely and fascinating. It's masterfully written and an indispensable guide to understanding radical Islamism,it's origins,objectives and zealous adherents. The perfect if not definitive 9/11 book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 2/9/2014

    " Well-researched non-fictional narrative of the history of the ideas behind Al-Qaeda and its formation and their activity leading up to the 9/11 attacks. Also details the information the FBI and CIA had that would have prevented the disaster had they been willing to share intelligence. Great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie | 1/31/2014

    " If you want to learn more about the beginnings of Muslim extremeism and the causes of 9/11, this is a great book to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 J Frank Parnell | 1/27/2014

    " More gripping than any novel I read this year or the last few. And I cannot begin to explain how angry it made me, especially over the misinformation the Bush junta and John McCan't continue to spew about the continuing causes for alarm over faith-based terrorism. Iraq linked to Al Qaeda? Secular Saddam Hussein, albeit a brutal tyrant, was the last person Bin Laden wanted to know --and he proved it by offering his mujahideen to attack Iraqi forces in Kuwait in 1991, as long as the US stayed off Saudi soil ... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian | 1/24/2014

    " A very well written and un-emotional look at Al-Qaeda; it's history and the buildup to 9/11. It is shocking the number of chances our government had to capture/kill the al-qaeda leadership and squandered. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt McNabb | 1/19/2014

    " One of the most complete tellings of the full story of 9/11 you will ever come across in print. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mr. | 1/6/2014

    " Everyone, and I do mean everyone, should read this vitally important book that details the rise of Al Queda. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janice | 12/22/2013

    " Want to give this book 10 stars. So much we didn't know. How radical islam, the muslim brotherhood got it's start. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 12/12/2013

    " Thorough accounting of the ideological battles that led to al Qaeda. Its only shortcoming was a lack of information about the hows and whys of the planners and operational details that led to 9/11. Maybe that's covered by other authors, but Wright's usual thoroughness would be illuminating there. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sean | 10/27/2013

    " Great if you know nothing about terrorism or if you feel people are treating you unfairly. Exceptionally written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex | 6/7/2013

    " Super-informative. Fascinating, frustrating, and moving. A little hard to digest, but the writing is much more accessible than the material suggests. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 1/30/2013

    " This was well-deserving of the enormous praise already heaped upon it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeffcolli | 1/13/2013

    " An outstanding history of the rise of Al-Qaeda and the key players involved the lead-up to 9/11 (in both American and Al-Queda linked organizations). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt Ziselman | 9/10/2012

    " Excellent history of what lead-up to 9/11. Highly readable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maria Shanle | 9/5/2012

    " Amazing book. All the blurbs are right on - if you want to understand how we got to 9/11, read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ashley | 7/16/2012

    " A meticulously researched and powerfully written account of the path to 9/11. It's an upsetting story, but one that I felt compelled to better understand. And Wright does an impressive job telling it. An important -- and highly recommended -- book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gerald | 2/17/2012

    " This book is just fabulous -- marvelous piece of reporting on al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. I've used this as one of several texts for my Media & Terrorism course for several years -- it's just first-rate. It's one book I wish a large number of Americans would read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew | 1/24/2012

    " Not as in depth as I had hoped. Plus, I think he spend way too much time on O'neil; as if that were the real tragedy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Neeta | 12/5/2011

    " Excellent book! A well researched book that covers movements, heads of state, fundamentalists and events leading up to 9/11 across the world. Well written and balanced. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Benjamin | 9/21/2011

    " An excellent study of the development of al-Qaeda, up to September 11th. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Todd | 5/17/2011

    " Outstanding and eye-opening history of Al Qaeda from its origins to 9/11. There's a lot in here that hasn't been revealed before. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 5/1/2011

    " Well, bin Laden's dead. This is a highly readable and incredibly informative account of who he was and the making of al-Qaeda. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 4/12/2011

    " An exhaustive, frightening, infuriating and ultimately illuminating account of the events that led to 9/11. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie | 3/30/2011

    " Must read for anyone who is interested in what is happening in our foreign policy. Illuminating and heartbreaking. I should have read this a long time ago, but it's never too late. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Lawrence Wright

Lawrence Wright graduated from Tulane University and spent two years teaching at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. He is a staff writer for the New Yorker and a fellow at the Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law. The author of several works of nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Looming Tower, he has also written a novel, God’s Favorite, and was cowriter of the movie The Siege. He and his wife live in Austin, Texas.