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Osama Bin Laden Hardcover – 24 Feb 2011
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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.
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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