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The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
This Pulitzer Prize winner is the basis for the upcoming Hulu series starring Peter Sarsgaard, Jeff Daniels, and Tahar Rahim. A gripping narrative that spans five decades, The Looming Tower explains in unprecedented detail the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, the rise of al-Qaeda, and the intelligence failures that culminated in the attacks on the World Trade Center. Lawrence Wright re-creates firsthand the transformation of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri from incompetent and idealistic soldiers in Afghanistan to leaders of the most successful terrorist group in history. He follows FBI counterterrorism chief John O’Neill as he uncovers the emerging danger from al-Qaeda in the 1990s and struggles to track this new threat. Packed with new information and a deep historical perspective, The Looming Tower is the definitive history of the long road to September 11. National Book Award Finalist Updated and with a New Afterword
The Terror Years by Lawrence Wright
Several "pieces first published in The New Yorker recall the path terror in the Middle East has taken from the rise of al-Qaeda in the 1990s to the recent beheadings of reporters and aid workers by ISIS ... They include an ... impression of Saudi Arabia, a kingdom of silence under the control of the religious police; the Syrian film industry, then compliant at the edges but already exuding a feeling of the barely masked fury that erupted into civil war; [and] the 2006-11 Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza, a study in disparate values of human lives. Others continue to look into al-Qaeda as it forms a master plan for its future, experiences a rebellion from within the organization, and spins off a growing web of terror in the world"--
"Anyone who wants to understand the world we live in now should read this book." —Lawrence Wright To eliminate the scourge of terrorism, we must first know who the enemy actually is, and what his motivations are. In Anatomy of Terror, former FBI special agent and New York Times best-selling author Ali Soufan dissects Osama bin Laden’s brand of jihadi terrorism and its major offshoots, revealing how these organizations were formed, how they operate, their strengths, and—crucially—their weaknesses. This riveting account examines the new Islamic radicalism through the stories of its flag-bearers, including a U.S. Air Force colonel who once served Saddam Hussein, a provincial bookworm who declared himself caliph of all Muslims, and bin Laden’s own beloved son Hamza, a prime candidate to lead the organization his late father founded. Anatomy of Terror lays bare the psychology and inner workings of al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and their spawn, and shows how the spread of terror can be stopped. Winner of the Airey Neave Memorial Book Prize
The End Of October by Lawrence Wright
"In this propulsive medical thriller--from the Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author--Dr. Henry Parsons, an unlikely but appealing hero, races to find the origins and cure of a mysterious new killer virus as it brings the world to its knees. At an internment camp in Indonesia, within one week, forty-seven people are pronounced dead with acute hemorrhagic fever. When the microbiologist and epidemiologist Henry Parsons travels there on behalf of the World Health Organization to investigate, what he finds will soon have staggering repercussions across the globe: an infected man is on his way to join the millions of worshippers in the annual Hajj to Mecca. Now, Henry joins forces with a Saudi doctor and prince in an attempt to quarantine the entire host of pilgrims in the holy city. Matilda Nachinsky, deputy director of U. S. Homeland Security, scrambles to mount a response to what may be an act of biowarfare already-fraying global relations begin to snap, one by one, in the face of a pandemic. Henry's wife Jill and their children face diminishing odds of survival in Atlanta and the disease slashes across the United States, dismantling institutions--scientific, religious, governmental--and decimating the population. As packed with suspense as it is with the riveting history of viral diseases, Lawrence Wright has given us a full-tilt, electrifying, one-of-a-kind thriller"--
Going Clear by Lawrence Wright
National Book Award Finalist A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists—both famous and less well known—and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology. At the book’s center, two men whom Wright brings vividly to life, showing how they have made Scientology what it is today: The darkly brilliant science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, whose restless, expansive mind invented a new religion. And his successor, David Miscavige—tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church after the death of Hubbard. We learn about Scientology’s complicated cosmology and special language. We see the ways in which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and how such stars are used to advance the church’s goals. And we meet the young idealists who have joined the Sea Org, the church’s clergy, signing up with a billion-year contract. In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation, understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.
Radical Islam In The West by Brian R. Farmer
This book explores the challenge posed by the immersion of 15 million Muslims in Western democracies and the few, but volatile, terrorists present within the larger body of believers. The fact that immersion in Western culture is insufficient to stem the tide of extremism is discussed, along with the factors that contribute to the growth of radical Islam, such as the presence of charismatic, authoritarian leadership, educational options that downplay critical thinking, and colonialism. Hope that radical Islam can be kept to a minimum in Western societies is provided by the Islamic concept of Ijtihad, through which Muslims reinterpret their own religion. Just as mainstream Mormons have dispensed with polygamy and Christians with witch-hunting, Muslims in Western societies have the potential to minimize the growth of radicalism. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.
Terrorism And Counterintelligence by Blake W. Mobley
Protecting information, identifying undercover agents, and operating clandestinely—efforts known as counterintelligence—are the primary objectives of terrorist groups evading detection by intelligence and law enforcement officials. Some strategies work well, some fail, and those tasked with tracking these groups are deeply invested in the difference. Discussing the challenges terrorist groups face as they multiply and plot international attacks, while at the same time providing a framework for decoding the strengths and weaknesses of their counterintelligence, Blake W. Mobley provides an indispensable text for the intelligence, military, homeland security, and law enforcement fields. He outlines concrete steps for improving the monitoring, disruption, and elimination of terrorist cells, primarily by exploiting their mistakes in counterintelligence. A key component of Mobley's approach is to identify and keep close watch on areas that often exhibit weakness. While some counterintelligence pathologies occur more frequently among certain terrorist groups, destructive bureaucratic tendencies, such as mistrust and paranoia, pervade all organizations. Through detailed case studies, Mobley shows how to recognize and capitalize on these shortcomings within a group's organizational structure, popular support, and controlled territory, and he describes the tradeoffs terrorist leaders make to maintain cohesion and power. He ultimately shows that no group can achieve perfect secrecy while functioning effectively and that every adaptation or new advantage supposedly attained by these groups also produces new vulnerabilities.
The Black Banners by Ali Soufan
'If you see the Black Banners coming from Khurasan, join that army, even if you have to crawl over ice; no power will be able to stop them' Hadith attributed to the Prophet Muhammad The Black Banners is the ultimate insider's account of the realities of counter-terrorism. During a decade on the front lines, as the FBI's lead investigator into Al Qaeda, Ali Soufan thwarted plots around the world and won some of the most important confessions from terrorists - without laying so much as a hand on them. Most of these stories have never been reported before, and never by anyone with such intimate firsthand knowledge. Soufan takes us into the interrogation rooms, into the hideouts. He even gives us a ringside seat at bin Laden's personal celebration of the 9/11 bombings. This is a gripping blow-by-blow account of the ten-year hunt for the most dangerous and well-connected Islamist terrorists - some of whom are still at large. In The Black Banners Soufan also explains why the pervasive use of torture is not helping in the 'War on Terror', and how a more enlightened approach to intelligence is not only possible, but essential. This is a story not just of intrigue and bravery, but of empathy. He shows us how terrorists think and operate. And he shows that through this understanding, they can be stopped and finally brought to justice. Ali Soufan knows the truth about the successes and failures of countering terrorism. His knowledge is essential to us all.
God Save Texas by Lawrence Wright
A New York Times Notable Book National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist An NPR Best Book of the Year God Save Texas is a journey through the most controversial state in America. It is a red state, but the cities are blue and among the most diverse in the nation. Oil is still king, but Texas now leads California in technology exports. Low taxes and minimal regulation have produced extraordinary growth, but also striking income disparities. Texas looks a lot like the America that Donald Trump wants to create. Bringing together the historical and the contemporary, the political and the personal, Texas native Lawrence Wright gives us a colorful, wide-ranging portrait of a state that not only reflects our country as it is, but as it may become--and shows how the battle for Texas's soul encompasses us all.
Remembering Satan by Lawrence Wright
In 1988 Ericka and Julie Ingram began making a series of accusations of sexual abuse against their father, Paul Ingram, who was a respected deputy sheriff in Olympia, Washington. At first the accusations were confined to molestations in their childhood, but they grew to include torture and rape as recently as the month before. At a time when reported incidents of "recovered memories" had become widespread, these accusations were not unusual. What captured national attention in this case is that, under questioning, Ingram appeared to remember participating in bizarre satanic rites involving his whole family and other members of the sheriff's department. Remembering Satan is a lucid, measured, yet absolutely riveting inquest into a case that destroyed a family, engulfed a small town, and captivated an America obsessed by rumors of a satanic underground. As it follows the increasingly bizarre accusations and confessions, the claims and counterclaims of police, FBI investigators, and mental health professionals. Remembering Satan gives us what is at once a psychological detective story and a domestic tragedy about what happens when modern science is subsumed by our most archaic fears.