"I was not always the wife of Osama bin Laden. Once I was an innocent child dreaming little girl dreams."
Thus begins this powerful story by Najwa bin Laden, who married her cousin Osama bin Laden at the age of 15 to become his first wife and the mother to 11 of his children, and her son, Omar bin Laden, the fourth-born son of Osama bin Laden. Together, mother and son tell an extraordinarily powerful story of a man hated by so many yet both loved and feared by his family, with spine-tingling details about the life and times of the man they knew as a husband and father, including:
Since September 11, 2001, journalists have struggled to uncover carefully guarded information about Osama's private life. Until now, Osama bin Laden's family members have not cooperated with any writers or journalists. Now, with unprecedented access and insight, Jean Sasson, author of the best-selling Princess: A True Story Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, takes us inside the secret world of Osama bin Laden.
©2009 Jean Sasson; (P)2009 Tantor
This book is not a literary work, but rather the memories of Najwa and Omar, two people who knew Osama Bin Laden not as a hero or a villain, but as a husband and father. He was a man they both loved in different ways, but also became a man they had to break with in order to survive.
Najwa's strength is the strength of love and determination to bend her will to her husband's and make the best of increasingly difficult circumstances for herself and her children. Omar's story is that of a young boy who grew up idolizing his hero father, but also being extremely disturbed by the hardships his father made him suffer -- sometimes carelessly, and sometimes deliberately. Although there are vivid recollections of attacks and violence as well as severe deprivation, what fascinates is Omar's inner journey from violence and retaliation toward peace and reconciliation. That he was able to survive the constant messages justifying hatred and killing and retain his love of all of god's creation -- both animal and human, is remarkable.
Please listen with an open heart and mind to the lives of these people. There were a few turning points that might have averted the 9/11 attacks that are probably unknown the common man in the west before this book. The book deeply conveys that no matter how misguided we may consider Osama Bin Laden, he is a man convinced of his own righteousness and the justice of his mission. His family as well as the rest of the world, bears the scars of that obsession.
I would definitely revisit this book in a year or two and recommend it to students studying history.
Hearing the progression of Osama bin Laden as a man from a prominent family to an extremist who put his goals ahead of everything else in the name of his religion.
Life on Tora Bora was so descriptive, I felt like I was up on that mountain braving the storms and the snakes. The edge of that mountain was indeed the
I enjoyed learning about the Islamic customs and how the 4th son became the closest to Osama bin Laden
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about Osama bin Laden the man.
It changes nothing
The yearning of Omar Bin Laden when he describes his childhood and the relationship with his father touched me. As an adult, the yearning for a father persists despite his ability to look at and judge his father with suprising objectivity.
The performance was good overall but there were times when I felt as ifI was listening to italics and could not determine if they were the author's or the narrator's
Najwa bin Laden. She is such an insightful, strong woman.
Najwa bin Laden's joy with the birth of each of her children, and how she supported her children without
I have not come to the 9-11 part yet, but it is refreshing to feel compassion for the family of such an evil man. I haven't cried yet. 45 minutes left to go though.
This is the 4th book of Jean Sassons that I have read or listen too. She is an excellent writer of others experiences.
The narration of this book is excellent.
It must have been painful to write this book- it details one man's descent into extremist madness and the horrific toll it took on his wives and children. This book is a great read and gives some insight into a culture so different from our own; where husbands are king and wives and children are subjugated and raised according to the father's whims and beliefs. Thank God for America, I wouldn't last very long over there.....!
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