Lawrence Wright at Dallas Museum of Art
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If there's one thing you should know about Lawrence Wright, it's that the man is thorough. Very thorough. Best known for his investigation into Scientology, "Going Clear," he's in town to talk about about his new book, "The Terror Years," a collection of 10 stories he originally wrote for the New Yorker about the evolution of terror. It's his second book on terrorism. The first, "The Looming Tower," won him a Pulitzer Prize in 2007.
The Terror Years examines the origins of al-Qaeda and how its core cult-like beliefs have morphed and spread. The collection includes a portrait of the “man behind bin Laden,” Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the tumultuous Egypt he helped spawn; an indelible impression of Saudi Arabia, a kingdom of silence under control of the religious police; a profile of the Syrian film industry, compliant at the edges but exuding the barely masked fury that erupted into civil war; and an account of the 2006–11 Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza, a study in the disparate value of human lives. Other chapters examine al-Qaeda’s master plan, rebellion from within the organization, and the growing web of worldwide terror.