Wright looks at the players involved in the history and construction of Al-Qaeda, offering short bios of Sayyid Qtub, Ayyman Zawairi, bin Laden, John O’Neill, et al. It is a thorough and interesting work. As someone who has read quite a bit about the players here, my expectations were modest. But I was impressed with the clarity of the story-telling. It was also impressive in the level of detail he presents. Some of that was amusing, as in his depiction of O’Neill’s female juggling act. He comes down hard on the
unwillingness of the CIA and FBI to share meaningful information in a timely manner. It is clear from his descriptions that turf wars played a larger role than did the institutional barriers to sharing information, although the latter were not trivial. This is highly recommended for anyone interested in the background to the terror events of the 21st century, clear, compelling and informative.