The Osama bin Laden I Know is an unprecedented oral history of Osama bin Laden's rise to revered leader of al Qaeda. Peter Bergen takes the reader onto the battlefields of Afghanistan as bin Laden goes from a shy, quiet teen to a leader; he brings you into Osama's intimate family life as he lives under the radar in Sudan, then Afghanistan; he puts you right in the room for al Qaeda's very first meeting; and he uses eyewitness accounts to relate what bin Laden said, and thought on 9/11 as he watched the twin towers fall. Derived from Bergen's interviews with more than 50 people who know bin Laden personally, from his highschool teacher to an early al Qaeda member who later became a US informant, The Osama bin Laden I Know recounts individual experiences with the man who has declared the US, and its allies, his greatest enemies.
Peter Bergen is the author or editor of nine books, including three New York Times bestsellers and four Washington Post best nonfiction books of the year. A Vice President at New America, Bergen is a professor at Arizona State University and a national security analyst for CNN. He has testified before congressional committees eighteen times about national security issues and has held teaching positions at Harvard and Johns Hopkins University.
Publisher: Free Press (January 20, 2006)
Length: 480 pages
"Highly illuminating. Peter Bergen, an experienced reporter as well as an academic, stands out among terrorism 'experts' for his breadth of experience and clear-headedness. Bergen has done a fine job of researching and compiling a very wide range of oral testimony. What emerges is a fascinating sequence of oblique-angled perspectives, casting light on the underlying motives of bin Laden and his companions and revealing some of his less-remarked but significant adventures." -- Max Rodenbeck, The New York Review of Books
"A coherent and dramatic account. How appropriate that the short biographies of those cited are gathered under the rubric 'Dramatis Personae.' This is a compelling story well told. There is plenty of evil, but thanks to Bergen's ability to bring out the human dimensions of the individuals involved, the banality of evil is not lacking either." -- L. Carl Brown, Foreign Affairs
"Peter L. Bergen has written what will long be the 'go-to' resource . . . a chronological record of what is known about bin Laden from his birth in 1957 to 2005, assembled by stringing together statements from bin Laden and those who taught him, met him, worked with him, or interviewed him over those forty-eight years." -- Richard A. Clarke, The Washington Post
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