Suggested Reading

More

In his post Balko mentioned Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower. I wanted to double-down and recommend that book to anyone with an interest in how we arrived at this point in our history. I also want to recommended, as exitr mentioned, Andrew Bacevich's The Limits Of Power.


I think those two works are shaping a great deal of my response to Bin Laden's death. Bacevich's book is more polemic, then history. Still there's good stuff on the rise of the American military, and what it's citizens have come to expect from it. It argued a link between our foreign policy and our culture of consumption. 

Wright's book gives a history of Al Qaeda, explains America's indirect, and often unconscionable, contribution to the group's rise. But as he does this, he never falls off the rail and loses sight of the group's chilling goals, and their willingness to effect mass murder in pursuit of them. You can't finish that book, and not see how we've been damned by our own foreign policy. But at the same time, you can't finish the book and be sad that Osama Bin Laden is dead.

Both books are great, and necessary, reads.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

How have stories changed in the age of social media? The minds behind House of Cards, This American Life, and The Moth discuss.


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In