The attacks of September 11, 2001, were a calamity on a scale few had imagined possible. In their aftermath, we exaggerated the men who perpetrated the attacks, shaping hasty and often mistaken reporting into caricatures we could comprehend — monsters and master criminals equal to the enormity of their crime. In reality, the 9/11 hijackers were unexceptional men, not much different from countless others. It is this ordinary enemy, not the caricature, that we must understand if we are to have a legitimate hope of defeating terrorism.
Using research undertaken in twenty countries on four continents, Los Angeles Times correspondent Terry McDermott provides gripping, authoritative portraits of the main players in the 9/11 plot. With brilliant reporting and thoughtful analysis, McDermott brings us a clearer, more nuanced, and in some ways more frightening, understanding of the landmark event of our time.