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Trailer for the HBO documentary My Trip to Al-Qaeda.
A firsthand account of Wright s experience researching his 2006 book The Looming Tower: al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, My Trip to Al-Qaeda sheds important light on al-Qaeda, Islamic radicalism, hostility to America and the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East overall. The riveting travelogue/performance piece combines Wright s first-person narrative with documentary footage and photographs, while raising important questions about the war on terrorism, and questioning the U.S. stance as a role model as it engages in a war that erodes the country s reputation and resources.
Lawrence Wright s work in the Middle East dates back to 1969, when he taught at American University in Cairo, where future 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta would study. However, the events of 9/11 intensified his focus on the causes and consequences of Islamic terrorism throughout the region, propelling him to write a book on the subject. Wright s acclaimed work spawned a theatrical piece that combined his journalistic insights, culled from 600 interviews and 4,100 pages of notes, with footage and photos of the places he had visited during his extensive research.