Okay, so I’m taking a short break from the aforementioned blitz to brag for a second on my pops, Lawrence Wright. His book on al-Qaeda came out in the US on Tuesday, and it was already Amazon’s best-selling book by the Sunday before. It stayed at number one for three days.
He’s put a tremendous amount of work into this book, starting at about 9:30AM CST on Sep 11, 2001, and still counting. And despite his seemingly cushy status as a staff writer for The New Yorker, he risked a lot of that cushiness to make this tome as comprehensive and engaging as possible. A lot of that risk’s burden has been shouldered by my mom, too, who has to be commended for supporting him not just through financial incertitude but even in the face of actual physical danger, as he gallivanted off to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan.
But the important thing is that the risks and hard work paid off. I finished the book last week, and it’s quite literally a page-turner. Dense and thorough and historical, yes, but also compelling and intense, with larger-than-life protagonists made human through well-placed quotidian details. It can be tough if you’re unfamiliar with Muslim names, and of course you already know how it all turns out. But the narrative sweeps you through to the end, and when the towers fall, it’s horrifying and heartbreaking. All over again.
The reviews have been nothing short of outstanding, too.