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Lawrence Wright is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11." The book's title is a phrase from the Quran: "Wherever you are, death will find you, even in the looming tower," which Osama bin Laden quoted three times in a videotaped speech as directed to the 9/11 hijackers. There is no doubt that Lawrence Wright is now the expert on the terrorist organization, Al Qaeda. Wright’s prodigious capacity for research is legend in the journalistic community, but for his latest book, he exceeded even his own high standards. For five years, he traveled wherever the story took him. He dug through hundreds of books and thousands of documents, filing his notes in a meticulously organized card index. The resulting book is scrupulously factual, breathtaking in its depth, and as absorbing as a spy novel. Wright's involvement with the Middle East goes back to 1969, when he taught English at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Wright was ready to give up journalism for film directing when the events of September 11, 2001 presented him with a new mission. He immediately began a series of stories for The New Yorker magazine, depicting everything from the experiences of everyday New Yorkers to the background of the conspirators, but soon realized it would take a book to tell the whole story. When it was finished, "The Looming Tower" won Wright unanimous critical acclaim, along with the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction. Lawrence Wright addressed the Academy's student delegates about his life and career at the U.S. State Department during the 2007 Achievement Summit in Washington, D.C.
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