I read The Looming Tower shortly after it was published and i consider it to be one of the best books about the road to 9/11. The Terror Years is Wright’s latest book about the war on terror. It is a collection of his writings from The New Yorker. And it is well worth the read, if not sometimes repetitive.
Each chapter is about a different person or subject. There are eleven chapters and an Epilogue and I learned something new in each one. The hardest chapter for me to read was “Five Hostages”. This chapter dealt with the American hostages taken by ISIS: James Foley, Theo Padnos; Steven Sotloff; Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller. This chapter was heartbreaking. It focuses on David Bradley, publisher of the Atlantic, who tried, in vain, mostly, to get them freed despite the U.S. Government’s admonition against negotiating with ISIS. I felt for the parents, friends and family of these men and woman who were being held.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of this chapter was the U.S. Government’s seeming inability to do anything to get them back. I voted for and supported President Obama. But I am frustrated and saddened by his lack of ability to act when it comes to the middle east. Never was this more apparent than in this chapter. Such futility and lack of coordinated effort hastened the hostages’ deaths. It angers me that these people lost their lives trying to do some good in the world.
In the Epilogue, Wright talks about Audrey Kurth Cronin’s book How Terrorism Ends, which is high on my to be read list. He discusses terrorists and terror groups and talks about why they are not successful. It’s a really interesting discussion. I look forward to reading more in her book.
Overall, I recommend this book as it was insightful and informative. Some of the chapters repeat themselves, but for those unfamiliar with the middle east or terrorism, it will not be annoying. If you are interested in a more specific look at 9/11, I highly recommend The Looming Tower. Either way, you really can’t go wrong with Lawrence Wright.