New Book ‘Reign of Terror’ Says 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Led to Trump Presidency

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Spencer Ackerman explores legacy of 9/11 in his newest book.

In our discussions around the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks two decades later, one journalist is taking a critical look at how the events of that day set into motion a decades long war riddled with persecution, roundups, paranoia and torture. Author, writer and journalist Spencer Ackerman notes that it’s also part of what led to the normalization of the kinds anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric that Donald Trump used in his rise to power in 2016.

Listen: Author of new book “Reign of Terror” explores ties between 9/11 aftermath and rise of Trump.


Spencer Ackerman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, contributing editor for The Daily Beast and author of the newly released book, “Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump.” 

In his own personal memories from the morning of September 11th, 2001, Ackerman says it was “one of the darkest days … that can’t ever be erased from my mind. … The smell not just of the smoke and debris … but also the smell of human beings. That’s something I will never forget … and the feeling that any moment, one of us could be next.”

Ackerman, who was living in Brooklyn, NY, at the time, notes Biden’s removal of troops from Afghanistan marks an important turning point in the events that have transpired since that fateful September day in 2001. 

“The withdrawal from Afghanistan is long overdue in a 20 year war that only strengthened the Taliban and threatened the life of Afghans,” he says. “The best time to leave Afghanistan was always going to be yesterday… Biden deserves credit for following through.”

Related: For American Muslims, 9/11 Changed Life in America

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