The Terror Years

From Al Qaeda to the Islamic State
Kevin Yatarola

Over the decade and a half since the 9/11 attacks al Qaeda has morphed and even spawned a rival terrorist organization, the Islamic State. Lawrence Wright, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Looming Tower, is one of the foremost reporters on the topic of al Qaeda and jihadist terrorism. In his new collection The Terror Years: From Al-Qaeda to the Islamic State, Wright draws on articles he wrote while researching The Looming Tower as well as articles he has written since to follow where and how al-Qaeda and its core cultlike beliefs have morphed and spread. They include an indelible impression of Saudi Arabia, a kingdom of silence under the control of the religious police; the Syrian film industry, then compliant at the edges but already exuding a feeling of the barely masked fury that erupted into civil war; and the 2006-11 Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza, a study in disparate values of human lives.

Lawrence Wright is an author, screenwriter, playwright, and a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. He is the author among many other books of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Knopf, 2006), was published to immediate and widespread acclaim, spending eight weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. It won the Lionel Gelber Award for Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Award for History, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Wright is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Society of American Historians.

New America is pleased to welcome Mr. Wright for a discussion of his book, al Qaeda, and the rise of the Islamic State.

Follow the discussion online using #TerrorYears and following @NewAmericaISP.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase.


Lawrence Wright
Author, The Terror Years: From Al Qaeda to the Islamic State
Staff Writer, The New Yorker


Peter Bergen @peterbergencnn
Director, New America International Security Program