Feb 11, 2006

Library Journal review of The OBL I Know

Library Journal Reviews

January 15, 2006

SECTION: REVIEWS; Social Sciences; Pg. 136

LENGTH: 269 words

HEADLINE: The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader

BYLINE: Nader Entessar


Bergen, Peter L. The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader. Free Pr: S & S . Jan. 2006. c.432p. index. ISBN 0-7432-7891-7 [ISBN 978-0-7432-7891-1 ]. $26. INT AFFAIRS

Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Osama bin Laden, the mastermind and leader of al Qaeda, has become a household name. Yet few people know many facts about this elusive figure. Bergen (terrorism analyst, CNN; Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden) has reported on al Qaeda for more than a decade. In his latest book, by means of transcribed recollections of numerous people whose lives have intersected with bin Laden's, Bergen provides an authoritative, accessible, and fascinating account of the man for Western audiences. Those defining him through their memories include bin Laden's relatives, close friends, and associates. Bergen has written an introduction as well as connecting text presenting the various "speakers" who contribute details to the portrait. The reader comes away understanding the genesis and development of al Qaeda's philosophy and with new insights into bin Laden's life, such as the early manifestations of his religious fervor and the actual minutes of his founding meeting of al Qaeda in 1988. The book's attention to the post-9/11 period is especially useful. Bergen correctly concludes that although 9/11 may have been a tactical victory for al Qaeda, it has now turned into a strategic defeat for that organization. It is the Iraq war that has given al Qaeda new life. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.-Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, AL

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