This frightening episode represents one of many tantalizing threads running through Lawrence Wright's tapestry of terrorism in The Looming Tower, a book filled with dazzling insight, pitch-perfect anecdotes, and compelling context.
Simply put, this is the most thorough and accessible account of the people, politics, and roiling theology behind Islamic terrorism. It should be required reading for every American; yes, it is that good.
Indeed, the book traces the contemporary movement far beyond the boilerplate lingo of jihad and infidels. The author traces the philosophy adopted by bin Laden and Al Qaeda to Sayyid Qutb, a brilliant dissident Egyptian scholar. Qutb's influence grew when Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser had him executed in 1966.
Wright, a contributor to The New Yorker magazine, spent five years researching and writing "The Looming Tower." On every page, that diligence rewards the reader.