Suggested Reading

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.

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.

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

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

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In