Thirteen Days in September: The Dramatic Story of the Struggle for Peace (Wright)

Perhaps it’s because I remember when this happened that I found Wright’s book very compelling. As in The Looming Tower, Wright creates a strong and balanced narrative. It is quite a thing to provide depth and nuance to public figures like Carter, Sadat, and Begin, but Wright does just that. He also incorporates a good balance of history to enable the reader to understand the origin of the points of dispute. Just a remarkable story of a remarkable accomplishment. Normally, I’m no fan of psychological arguments about historical events, but I think it works here.


The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Wright)

I’ve known of this well-regarded book for a long while, but I don’t think I was ready to read it. A visit to the 9/11 Museum finally prompted me. It is a very, very good book. Wright’s research is incredible.  To watch bin Laden’s transformation from a human being I could recognize to a deluded fanatic was both astonishing and understandable.

I had long heard that one of the United States’ problems was a lack of cooperation among various agencies. Until I read this book, I was willing to give them some slack. This was unprecedented. Who knows how many threats they have to sift through on a daily basis, etc.? But that forgiveness is all gone now. We knew things. We had information. The failure to share information because of rivalries, wrongly interpreted laws, and individual personalities is recounted here, and without necessarily blaming anyone, Wright points out numerous times when opportunities to capture or kill certain people were missed. This is not to say that 9/11 would not have happened, only to say that opportunities – major ones – were missed for largely petty reasons.

So if you’re ready, this, I think, is the book to read.