How is it possible for one middle-aged Saudi millionaire to threaten the
world's only superpower? This is the question at the center of Jonathan
Randal's riveting, timely account of Osama bin Laden's role in the rise of
terrorism in the Middle East. Randala journalist whose experience of the
Middle East spans the past forty yearsmakes clear how Osama's life
epitomizes the fatal collision between twenty-first-century Islam and the West,
and he describes the course of Osama's estrangement from both the West and the
Saudi petro-monarchy of which his family is a part. He examines Osama's
terrorist activities before September 11, 2001, and shows us how, after the
attack on the World Trade Center, Osama presented the West with something new in
the annals of contemporary terrorism: an independently wealthy entrepreneur with
a seemingly worldwide following ready to do his bidding. Randal explores the
possibility that Osama offered the Saudis his Al-Qaeda forces to drive Saddam
Hussein out of Kuwait in 1991; he traces the current sources of Osama's money;
and he tells us why the Iraq war has played into the hands of the terrorists.
With his long-maintained sources in the Middle East and his intimate understanding of the region, Randal gives us a clearer explanation than any we have had of the whys and wherefores of the world's most prominent and feared terrorist.
Behind The Book
With his long-maintained sources in the Middle East and intimate understanding of the region, Jonathan Randal sheds light on Osama bin Laden's role in the rise of terrorism. Here, Randal uses his years of research to separate fact from fiction when it comes to basic questions Americans have about Osama.
3 reasons why Osama is happy with the Bush administration's war in Iraq
4 myths about Osama
5 facts about Al Qaeda
BUG IN THE ELEPHANT'S EAR
For days after September 11, 2001, I wondered if Osama bin Laden, along with the rest of the world, had watched the real-time footage of those fully fueled airliners, hijacked by suicidal pilots and their henchmen, as they rammed into the Pentagon and the twin towers of Manhattan's World Trade Center. For reasons I still do not completely fathom, everything else about 9/11, as the attacks soon were called, was subordinated for me to that possibility. Perhaps it was that in years past, high up in his Afghan redoubt carved into the Hindu Kush, he had indulged a rich man's fascination with gadgetry, delighting in showing visitors his computers, satellite telephones and dishes and other high-tech paraphernalia. Did he now savor life imitating art, a pastiche of kitsch reruns of Hollywood horror movies complete with plummeting bodies, billowing flames, imploding buildings, brave firemen rushing back up the stairs to their deaths? Did ...
Considering how little is known about Osama bin Laden, some might think it a little challenging to produce a 300 page biography of the man. However, by setting what is known of bin Laden's life in the context of the larger regional issues, this is what Jonathan Randal has done. Osama has received generally positive reviews; negative comments are not so much to do with his fact gathering but his presentation of the facts in a light that is not flattering to the USA government, from Clinton through to the present.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (389 words).
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