In the fullest account yet of the events that led to the fateful day, Wright unmasks the secret world of Osama bin Laden and his collaborators and also chronicles the efforts of a handful of American intelligence officers alert to the approaching danger but frustrated, time and again, in their efforts to stop it. Wright, a staff writer for The New Yorker, builds his heart-stopping narrative through the patient and meticulous accumulation of details and through vivid portraits of Al Qaeda's leaders. Most memorably, he tells the story of John O'Neill, the tormented F.B.I. agent who worked frantically to prevent the impending terrorist attack, only to die in the World Trade Center.
Order the book, here.
Eerie. Hugh and the NYT align? Believe it:
It is riveting, and its first quarter provides the history of the roots of al Qaeda that should be required reading for every member of the government and the chattering class. I am certain that the balance of the book will be equally as valuable, and I suspect it will achieve what the 9/11 Commission report could not --widespread readership and agreement about the crucial events that led to 9/11.
Dennis Prager interviewed author Lawrence Wright, here.
Of course, on the list, "Tower" is sandwiched between a young woman's memoirs about coming to terms with her father's Vietnam-induced failings as a parent and an indictment of the Pilgrims' treatment of Native Americans, but credit where credit is due.
I thought "Absurdistan" sounded interesting:
Shteyngart's scruffy, exuberant second novel, equal parts Gogol and Borat, is immodest on every level - it's long, crude, manic and has cheap vodka on its breath. It also happens to be smart, funny and, in the end, extraordinarily rich and moving. "Absurdistan" introduces Misha Vainberg, the rap-music-obsessed, grossly overweight son of the 1,238th richest man in Russia. After attending college in the United States, he is now stuck in St. Petersburg, scrambling for an American visa that may never arrive. Caught between worlds, and mired in his own prejudices and thwarted desires, Vainberg just may be an antihero for our times.
Something sort of "Confederacy of Dunces" about the sound of it. Anyone read it?