WHAT: THE TERROR YEARS:
From Al-Qaeda to the Islamic State
WHEN: Published by Knopf August 23, 2016
WHERE: The author lives in Austin.
WHY: “Engrossing procedural writing
…vivid firsthand reportage.
“Suffering, violence, and tense intrigue run through these dispatches from the frontlines of the ‘war on terror,’ culled from the author’s New Yorker articles. Pulitzer-winning journalist Wright investigates every facet of the shadowy conflict, including Washington officialdom, terrorist cells, and the lives and deaths of the war’s victims, from Syria to lower Manhattan.
“The pieces include profiles of al-Qaeda mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri as his militancy is forged under torture in Egyptian prisons; FBI counterterrorism agent Ali Soufan, who used sympathy and cagey questioning rather than waterboarding to get information; and Egyptian Islamist Dr. Fadl, a leading theorist of jihad who renounced violence in 2008.
“Quieter but equally searching pieces explore the plight of Syrian filmmakers walking a tightrope between expression and government co-optation; the author’s experience training journalists in Saudi Arabia, where they are stifled by theocratic dictatorship; and the heartbreak of families of five American hostages held by ISIS.
“Wright mixes engrossing procedural writing on organizing and fighting terrorism with vivid firsthand reportage. He writes with empathy for every side while clearly registering the moral catastrophes that darken this pitiless struggle.”
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, featured boxed review
“A brilliant volume that is a must-read for anyone looking for greater illumination of the baffling world of religious extremism.”
—Carl Hays, BOOKLIST
“Riveting…This informative book will appeal to readers interested in the genesis and development of terrorist movements.” —Nader Entessar, LIBRARY JOURNAL
“Top-notch reporting…More great work from a dedicated journalist.”