Everyone old enough to be aware of what was happening remembers where they were on September 11th, 2001. Here, experts discuss the causes and history of 9/11, as well as exploring the books on the consequences of that fateful day.
The key book on the run-up to 9/11 is The Looming Tower by American journalist Lawrence Wright, one of the most recommended books across our whole site. It's a detailed narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, was based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews, but reads like a thriller.
If you're looking for a book about the day of the attacks, how the events unfolded and how they were experienced by ordinary people, The Only Plane in the Sky is the first comprehensive oral history of 9/11. It comes extremely highly recommended as an audiobook, with veteran audiobook reviewer Robin Whitten describing it as "a punch to the stomach listening to it."
Below, you'll find all our interviews and book recommendations relating to 9/11, from the Saudi millionaire's son who was behind it, Osama bin Laden, to the endless wars it spawned, to the works of literature and fiction it has inspired.
Who was Osama bin Laden? How critical was he to the 9/11 attacks on the United States? What happened in the first 100 days at Guantanamo Bay? Who was in charge of the United States when George W Bush went into hiding? What should we make of all the conspiracy theories that have sprung up around the events of that day? Yosri Fouda, the veteran Egyptian investigative reporter, author and TV host talks us through his choice of the best books on 9/11.
Amy Waldman reported on the aftermath of 9/11 for the New York Times, but when it came to writing a book about it, she wrote a novel. The Submission was hailed as one of the best novels to come out of the tragedy, including by the Financial Times. Here, she chooses some of the best literature inspired by 9/11, including novels, a memoir and a book of poetry.
The neoconservative view that the US has a special mission in the world was supercharged by 9/11. There was also a sense that 9/11 could make America better. Sadly it didn’t work out that way, says Peter Beinart
It’s hard to remember when in the midst of one, but terrorism campaigns do always end. Audrey Kurth Cronin, author of How Terrorism Ends, recommends the best books on terrorism.
Many thought that 9/11 was the start of an Al-Qaeda assault on the West, but it turned out to be Bin Laden’s Pearl Harbor – a victory that led to strategic defeat – says Peter Bergen, one of the few reporters who met the Saudi-born militant.
The US has repeatedly misdiagnosed the war in Afghanistan. Former soldier, Andrew Exum, tells us about flawed policy, unhappy outcomes and what could and should have been different.
Jason Burke, journalist and author of an acclaimed book on Al-Qaeda, tells us what he learnt about militants when he was caught in a firefight in Iraq—and suggests five books we should read to understand their motivations.
The veteran Middle East correspondent gives us his tips for the best reading about the US-led invasion and occupation, and explains why the West shouldn’t have intervened in Iraq in the first place
The award-winning BBC documentary maker Peter Taylor tells us what he learned in his ten years investigating Al-Qaeda, and suggests what we should read to understand where the group came from, and what it’s still trying to do
The Professor of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins University picks five books you must read to understand the War on Terror, starting with one that tries to define what terrorism is.