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Publisher's Summary

The Osama bin Laden I Know is the definitive history of the world's most wanted man. Author Peter Bergen is CNN's terrorism analyst and an acclaimed journalist who actually spent time with bin Laden prior to the events of September 11, 2001. The book features interviews with people from each stage of bin Laden's life, from childhood to the present day, and reveals both formative moments and intimate details that reveal his character and personality. The only book of its kind, this is the authoritative account of al Qaeda's notorious leader.
©2006 Peter L. Bergen; (P)2006 Recorded Book, LLC.

Critic Reviews

"A detailed, well-researched narrative that persuasively answers dozens of questions that are still painfully relevant today." (The Washington Post)

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Robert
  • Sammamish, WA, USA
  • 04-28-06

Disappointed

The title of this book is a bit curious, as Mr. Bergen shares little personal insight about Osama bin Laden. Frankly, the book is little more than a succession of quotes about bin Laden that Mr. Bergen simply compiled and regurgitated from other sources. It gets old rather quickly.

After I bought this audiobook, I saw a special about Osama bin Laden on the Discovery Channel. It presented the same types of insights about Osama bin Laden as Mr. Bergen does in his book, but in a more efficient and interesting fashion. And, of course, it was free. Look it up, Tivo it, and don't waste your time or money on this book.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fearful reading ...

If you want to keep yourself faithful in the human goodness, good faith and all important virtues of the human race - do not read this book.
The book I write about is "The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader". The book is written cold. It is mostly based on press reports and the existing relations about Osama and its life in Saudi Arabia, in Afganistan, Pakistan. Almost all of us have heard stories about this most wanted terrorist and declared enemy of the free world. But what ones feel when slowly going through this book is hard to describe. It's really hard to comprehend, to grasp, that there are people so dedicated to kill other innocent people, and what is more - to do it in the name of G-d. One of the most shocking fact revealed by the book is potential psychological link of the fatwa issued by Sheikh Omar Abdur Rahman and the later 9/11 act. I do not want to go into details in this review. The book shows the dark side of humanity, hatred and false believe in one's own right to judge - not only ourselves but also the entire world. I still hope that this is a book about a deviation or rather aberration from what really Islam teaches ....

It is a very good book, very well written and really fascinating - but for goodness sake - if you do not want to loose your faith in humankind - do not read it ....

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Keith
  • Alexandria, VA, USA
  • 12-05-08

Excellent Oral History

As a person who has long tried to understand how this person could be a part of the horrible things he did, this book is very revealing. Through the use of first-hand accounts from people who interacted with bin Laden at different phases of his life, the reader sees how a person very strict muslim views are radicalized to the point where killing innocent people becomes a real option. Mr. Bergen's work is pretty rigorous and he's to be commended for it.

I purchased the audio version of this book and I thought he did a good job, although I could have done without some of the inflection he used to differentiate between Bergen's words and the first-hand experiences of those interviewed.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Interesting, but with mistakes

I enjoyed the book, but was really turned off when the reader states that Fort Bragg is in South Carolina. This is incorrect, Ft Bragg is located in the center of North Carolina, near Fayetteville, NC. Makes me wonder how accurate the rest of the book is.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful