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Osama Bin Laden Hardcover – 24 Feb 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (24 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199738661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199738663
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 2.3 x 15 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 908,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The best and fullest characterization of the man and Al Qaeda ... a first-class study ... well-argued and written for a broad audience. (Choice)

definitive biography (Scotland on Sunday)

...a needed corrective to most of the airy generalisations about bin Laden and his followers. (Financial Times)

A fire-breathing denunciation of U.S. counterterrorism policy. (Julian Borger, The Guardian)

About the Author

Michael Scheuer was the chief of the CIA's bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999 and remained a counterterrorism analyst until 2004. He is the author of many books, including the bestselling Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terrorism. He lives in the Washington, DC area.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Scheuer was the first head of the CIA's 'Osama bin Laden unit', from 1996 to 1999. His previous book, Imperial Hubris, explained why the West was losing the 'War on Terrorism' and was praised by bin Laden himself in his 6 September 2007 video. Scheuer is therefore well placed to write what is arguably the first scholarly biography of al-Qaeda's founder. In this short work (187 pages of text), Scheuer tries to be rational rather than offering a simplistic condemnation of the man. Scheuer believes the problem with the Americans is that they, understandably, portray bin Laden as a mindless homicidal maniac. While he sympathises with the reasons why Americans wish to do this, Scheuer believes that not only is this not true of bin Laden but that by failing to correctly perceive him for what he really is, they were no closer to defeating him or his organisation. Scheuer offers his own assessment of bin Laden that is sure to shock many: "pious, brave, generous, intelligent, charismatic, patient, visionary, stubborn, egalitarian, and realistic".

Scheuer also debunks many popular misconceptions about bin Laden, alot of them stemming from propaganda from bin Laden's native land, Saudi Arabia. The Saudis for obvious reasons wish to lay the blame for bin Laden's terrorism on the evil influence of Egyptian Islamists. Before that, they claim, bin Laden was a normal, good Saudi boy. Scheuer shows from the evidence that bin Laden was pious and devout from early on and that his ideas have been largely consistent.
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By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 May 2011
Format: Hardcover
Osama, that is. The author, Michael Scheuer, was the chief of the CIA's unit that was searching for The Elusive One for a period of four years, and has remained in the field of "Osama watchers" thereafter. He is definitely opinionated, speaks his mind, sometimes shrilly so. And he has accumulated his share of enemies, including the Israeli lobby in the United States. He has attempted what he considers to be a realistic portrait of the man, and in his preface, makes it quite clear: "...my intention is not to praise Osama bin Laden but to help bury him."

In Scheuer's initial chapter he groups various other "Osama watchers" into categories and then critiques their portraits of him. There is the "old hand" narrative that proposes that he is simply one of a long line of individuals or groups who use terrorism for political purposes. There is the "former comrades" narrative; that is, those who once supported him, but have fallen out. There is the "Riyadh narrative," pushed by the Saudis who are embarrassed by the actions of a man who used to be one of their own, and would like to blame it all on that evil Egyptian, Al-Zawahiri. American think tanks and the neo-cons push the "imperialist narrative," that is the coming of a world-wide Caliphate. And there are the "bin Laden experts" themselves, who ignore what he actually says, and relies on what others say about him. Scheuer draws American analogies to underscore his points, and says that it is equivalent to writing a biography of George Washington by relying exclusively on the works of his political rivals: American Tories, King George III and British army officers.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book clears up the myths and theories about Bin Laden and al-queda, and explains Who the man was and what he intended to achieve. An interesting book for anyone interested in current affairs. It was published a couple of years before his death so his final years are not covered, but this book is well worth reading.
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Format: Hardcover
Osama bin Laden's jihad against the West continued years after September 11, 2001. While he remained a fugitive, his ideas and his al-Qaeda cells flourished despite global opposition and a relentless manhunt. Now that he is dead, how much continuing influence will his legacy have? Apparently, his machinations still threaten the US, the West, Israel, Christians in Arab lands, Jews, some Muslims and Arab efforts at building democracies. Michael Scheuer, who led the CIA's bin Laden desk from 1996 to 1999, eloquently explains that defeating al-Qaeda requires understanding jihad's history and deadly goals, like driving "infidels" out of Arab lands. Scheuer deeply criticizes US actions and policy - often controversially - but his analysis is engrossing, as is his informed, historical perspective on bin Laden, a lethally skilled leader who murdered ruthlessly in pursuit of his political and theological goals. While the opinions in this provocative, disturbing book are entirely the author's, getAbstract recommends this revealing, fully annotated work as a valuable reference, whatever your politics (for readers may well be throwing things before Scheuer is done, enraged by his criticisms or, depending on their views, by policymakers' decisions). Little did he know that two months after his book's publication, the US Navy would slide Osama bin Laden's dead body into the trackless sea - where the dark ripples still circle.
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