The Siege of Mecca: The Forgotten Uprising in Islam's Holiest Shrine & the Birth of Al-Qaeda Audiobook | Yaroslav Trofimov | Audible.com
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The Siege of Mecca: The Forgotten Uprising in Islam's Holiest Shrine & the Birth of Al-Qaeda | [Yaroslav Trofimov]

The Siege of Mecca: The Forgotten Uprising in Islam's Holiest Shrine & the Birth of Al-Qaeda

On November 20, 1979, worldwide attention was focused on Tehran, where the Iranian hostage crisis was entering its third week. The same morning, the first of a new Muslim century, hundreds of gunmen stunned the world by seizing Islam's holiest shrine, the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Armed with rifles that they had smuggled inside coffins, these men came from more than a dozen countries, launching the first operation of global jihad in modern times.
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Publisher's Summary

On November 20, 1979, worldwide attention was focused on Tehran, where the Iranian hostage crisis was entering its third week. The same morning, the first of a new Muslim century, hundreds of gunmen stunned the world by seizing Islam's holiest shrine, the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Armed with rifles that they had smuggled inside coffins, these men came from more than a dozen countries, launching the first operation of global jihad in modern times. Led by a Saudi preacher named Juhayman al Uteybi, they believed that the Saudi royal family had become a craven servant of American infidels and sought a return to the glory of uncompromising Islam. With nearly 100,000 worshippers trapped inside the holy compound, Mecca's bloody siege lasted two weeks, inflaming Muslim rage against the United States and causing hundreds of deaths.

Despite U.S. assistance, the Saudi royal family proved haplessly incapable of dislodging the occupier, whose ranks included American converts to Islam. In Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini blamed the "Great Satan", the United States, for defiling the shrine, prompting mobs to storm and torch American embassies in Pakistan and Libya.

The desperate Saudis finally enlisted the help of French commandos led by Captain Paul Barril, who prepared the final assault and supplied the poison gas that knocked out the insurgents. Though most captured gunmen were quickly beheaded, the Saudi royal family responded to this unprecedented challenge by compromising with the rebels' supporters among the kingdom's most senior clerics, helping them nurture and export Juhayman's violent brand of Islam around the world.

Written with the pacing, detail, and suspense of a real-life thriller, The Siege of Mecca reveals how Saudi reaction to the uprising in Mecca set free the forces that produced the attacks of 9/11 and the harrowing circumstances that surround us today.

©2007 Yaroslav Trofimov; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Solid journalistic and storytelling skills....Trofimov does excellent work in narrating [these events]." (Kirkus)
"A compelling historical narrative....Casual readers will be well served by this introduction to Muslim fundamentalist terrorism." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Mitch Emswiller 05-31-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ""The Siege" - A Review"

    If you enjoy connecting the dots of past incidents in the Middle East and seeing their impact on today's world...A MUST "READ"! Fast paced, easily understood. Doesn't get into mundane minutia but flies at 30,000 feet. Fanatic zealots think their guy is the Machti (the prophet the returns to save the world and purge all infidels from the lands of Islam).

    To prove their point they seize the grand temple in Mecca and kill hundreds of innocents. This causes the entangling of the House of Saud, the US, other Islamic countries, and France's elite anti-terrorism squadron.

    CAUTION: you may miss work sitting in the parking lot, while waiting for the end!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip Montreal, Quebec, Canada 11-02-07
    Philip Montreal, Quebec, Canada 11-02-07 Member Since 2005
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    "An essential book"

    I was thoroughly enthralled listening to this untold story of an event that was somewhat overshadowed at the time and which turns out to have been something of a turning point in the radicalization of Islam.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eunice Harrodsburg, KY, United States 11-30-07
    Eunice Harrodsburg, KY, United States 11-30-07 Member Since 2007
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    "Absolutely excellent"

    This is a wonderful history of an event little known, yet so important to our world situation today. Trofimov did an excellent job of writing in a way that is both informative and gripping. The narration was excellent overall. In listening, I finally understood who the Islamic extremists are; their personalities, beliefs, and extremes to which they will go to deal with those they consider infidels.
    Absolutely recommended!!!! Listen when you have plenty of time. I had a hard time switching it off!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanie Bond 11-06-09
    Jeanie Bond 11-06-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Just Excellent"

    Complete and balanced. An essential read (Step NO. One in a process) for anyone really wanting to understand the relationship between the Saudi Arabia's leadership and U.S.A., between Al Qida and other Sunni Arabs; where America (and Russia) went wrong.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Sylvania, OH, United States 07-03-10
    Jane Sylvania, OH, United States 07-03-10 Member Since 2005
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    "Provides a better understanding"

    The events chronicled in this book helps one better understand the mind-set of radical Islam and how those thought processes influenced the relationships the US now has with various Middle Eastern countries. Having lived and worked in the Middle East for a year and a half, and getting some insight into the culture, I had the advantage of being able to read between the lines for even greater understanding. I believe the author was very objective in his analysis of the events leading up to the crisis, and those resulting from it. This is a good book for anyone who wants a clearer understanding of US/Middle Eastern politics.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Lititz, PA, United States 08-02-09
    Charles Lititz, PA, United States 08-02-09
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    "Superb insight for Muslims and Non-Muslims."

    Most "experts on Islam" from the west these days impress me mostly as crack pots with an axe to grind against Islam. At best most are those who may possess a dangerous thing: a little bit of knowledge. I must say though Trofimov demonstrates a fairly comprehensive understanding of the basics of Islam and a profound command of the historical events he writes on in this text. His style is lively and animated yet he is comprehensive and therefore satisfying. The Siege of Mecca is an important work which should be read by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It is very very well done.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger United States 04-02-14
    Roger United States 04-02-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Great Read, especially for one who was there"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Siege of Mecca to be better than the print version?

    Always prefer Audio versions


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Royal Family, Prince Sultan as I met him in my past


    What does Todd McLaren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Memories


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Gives readers an inside of why the House of Saud worked and their relations to their neighbors


    Any additional comments?

    I was in Saudi Arabia for the Iranian hostage ordeal and subsequent war between Iraq and Iran and maintain the original after action reports with photos of the terrorist after their 'INTEROGATION" trust me when I say that these men were ready to die when they were executed. Even for me, their pictures haunted me weeks after reviewing the file. The writer was correct when talking about the different tribes and loyalty which hampered their actions and did their best to contain it. Their army was ill equipped to handle what was happening and the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG), their elite force at the time, was still untrained, The Royal Family did their best to try and contain the situation while being publically attacked by other Arab nations for allowing it to happen, something hard to do with the pilgrimage granted to all of the faithful. Saudi Arabia did not trust America as they watched what President Carter did to Iran, or closest ally in the region at the time and hatred was running strong against America as it shows in the book. President Carters actions and failures to keep Mohammad Reza Shah (Shah of Iran) in power by refusing to allow the CIA to continue paying for Ayatollah Khomeini to stay in France are actions America is still dealing with today.It was only after President Reagan took office and provided much needed military assistance did the Saudi Arabia started lowering its guard and once again started trusting America in protecting their country but this also proved to be an issue as now we had hundreds of military members on the ground and stationed at their military airfield to monitor the Iraq and Iran war thus provoking Bin Laden to start his campaign to rid the Kingdom of us infidels and with the war winding down in Afghanistan with the Russians, turned his attention back to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But that's another story,Enjoyed the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Washington, DC, United States 03-26-12
    Richard Washington, DC, United States 03-26-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Must read - the origins of fanatical Islam"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have spent 20 years in the Middle East and this book carefully researched captures the events that have led up to the modern shaping of politics in the Middle East and the rise of fanatical Islam. A must read. Written like a novel the truth however is stranger than fiction and the story is so compelling that you cannot put it down.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Yaroslav Trofimov interviewed and researched this book by getting behind the steel curtain of censorship that is so pervasive in Saudi Arabia.


    What does Todd McLaren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Read with pace and vigor.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definitely


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen San Francisco, CA, United States 06-09-12
    Stephen San Francisco, CA, United States 06-09-12 Member Since 2004

    Fictional characters in narrative

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    "Use the web for pictures and more of this history"

    I recommend this to my following for its educational value, of history and also of contemporary relevance.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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