Osama Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden

3.74 (184 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


Before Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. troops in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, the shadowy leader of al-Qaeda had all but disappeared from public consciousness. Largely depicted as a historical figure, he was viewed by the media, government, and public as the mastermind behind 9/11, but no longer relevant to the world it created. Yet to view the man through this lens, Michael Scheuer argues, only contributes to a widespread denial of his ultimate significance and power. In this newly updated paperback edition, Scheuer, the first head of the CIA's bin Laden Unit, draws from a wealth of interviews, speeches, and previously un-translated documents to challenge the complacency of the West's perception of Osama bin Laden. Exploring bin Laden's evolution from a peaceful Saudi dissident to America's Most Wanted and shedding light on his development as a theologian, media manipulator, and military commander, Scheuer produces a closely reasoned, authoritative portrait of America's most determined enemy. Discrediting prevailing claims that depict bin Laden as irrelevant or unimportant, Scheuer's much-needed corrective shows a figure of remarkable leadership skills, strategic genius, and considerable rhetorical abilities who was significantly underestimated by the West. In light of the success of the U.S. Special Forces mission that brought down bin Laden in Pakistan, Scheuer expands his argument to consider the political landscape that bin Laden left behind and the dark legacy that survives him. Despite the reactions of the media and American public to bin Laden's death and the renewed depictions of him as a simplistic, one-dimensional foe, Scheuer argues that the jihadist leader was truly a complex and formidable enemy of the West, and that his influence and ideology take on a heightened relevance in the wake of his death. "Steeped in detailed knowledge of the Saudi jihadist. It is a needed corrective to most of the airy generalizations about bin Laden and his followers." -The Financial Times "A highly readable and jargon-free book...a serious and non-ideological treatment and analysis of bin Laden's thinking...One of the most detailed biographical sketches of bin Laden available in the West. " -Library Journal "Scheuer was long the dean of U.S. government analysts of Osama bin Laden...In this volume he has distilled his decade and half of thinkingto produce a portrait of bin Laden that is authoritative." -Peter Bergen, author of The Longest War and Holy War, Inc.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 296 pages
  • 139.7 x 208.28 x 25.4mm | 317.51g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0199898391
  • 9780199898398
  • 240,512

About Michael Scheuer

Michael Scheuer was the chief of the CIA's bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999 and remained a counterterrorism analyst until 2004. He is the author of many books, including the bestselling Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terrorism, and has been featured extensively on television, including 60 Minutes, and has been the focus of print media worldwide. He lives in the Washington, DC area.show more

Review quote

"Mike Scheuer was long the dean of U.S. government analysts of Osama bin Laden. Out of government Scheuer has continued to be one of the most original and thoughtful interpreters of bin Laden and al- Qaeda, and in this volume he has distilled his decade and half of thinking about them to great effect, synthesizing a large body of literature to produce a portrait of bin Laden that is authoritative."--Peter Bergen, author of The Longest War and The Osama bin Laden I Know "No American knows bin Laden better than Scheuer. In this masterful and groundbreaking biography, Scheuer shatters many myths about the al-Qaeda leader that dangerously persist in Washington nearly a decade after 9/11. Drawing on his unparalleled experience and a multitude of primary sources, Scheuer correctly and convincingly portrays America's most determined enemy as a rational, intelligent, patient and pious Muslim who understands us far better than we comprehend him." --Craig Whitlock, National Security Correspondent, The Washington Post "No individual enemy has done more to drive the direction and sap the resources of U.S. foreign policy than bin Laden, yet policymakers have paradoxically underestimated his ability and character, dismissing him as a simple demon. This book by a uniquely qualified expert probes the depth and complexity of his ideas, strategy, and leadership, shakes off conveniently misleading images, exposes uncomfortable realities, and faces the full challenge posed by bin Laden." --Richard K. Betts, Director, Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University "Lucid and important. Scheuer takes a crucial step in revealing how the West keeps itself vulnerable by persisting in demonizing rather than understanding its formidable opponent." --Publishers Weekly"In this highly readable and jargon-free book, Scheuer (Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror), head of the CIA's bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999, updates the issues he had covered in his previous publications and offers a serious and nonideological treatment and analysis of bin Laden's thinking. Unlike many Western analysts who dismiss bin Laden as simplistic, uncouth, and incompetent, Scheuer portrays him as a patient, devout, and talented, albeit ruthless, leader who remains a formidable enemy of the West. This informative book is one of the most detailed biographical sketches of bin Laden available in the West and is useful for both the general public and specialists." --Library Journal"Scheuer, former chief of the CIA unit charged with tracking al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden, writes that the Western powers have 'failed miserably in every conceivable way' in containing the terrorist group and eliminating the threat it poses. Of vital interest to many kinds of readers, particularly those who share the author's view that we are fighting a war that may soon reach our shores." --KIRKUS Reviews"Steeped in detailed knowledge of the Saudi jihadist. It is a needed corrective to most of the airy generalisations about bin Laden and his followers." --The Financial Times"Scheuer knows more about Bin Laden as a subject of US intelligence pursuit than almost any other expert." --International Affairs..".This book is a first-class study, well argued and written for a broad audience; it retains its value for understanding al Qaeda in the post-bin Laden era... [T]his book will be the definitive biography for the future." --CHOICEshow more

Table of contents

Preface ; 1. Osama bin Laden as Subject ; 2. Education, 1957-1979 ; 3. Apprenticeship, 1979-1989 ; 4. Nomad, 1989-1996 ; 5. Organizer, 1996-2001 ; 6. Survivor and Planner, 2001-2010 ; 7. The Bin Laden Era ; Epilogueshow more

Rating details

184 ratings
3.74 out of 5 stars
5 22% (41)
4 41% (76)
3 27% (50)
2 7% (13)
1 2% (4)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X