The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden

Peter Bergen. Simon & Schuster, $30 (416p) ISBN 978-1-9821-7052-3
CNN national security analyst Bergen (Trump and His Generals) adds intriguing new details to the story of Osama bin Laden in this solid, well-sourced biography. He visits bin Laden’s ancestral home in Yemen; traces the origins of his wealth to his father’s construction company in Saudi Arabia; and reveals that his father’s death in a plane crash helped push bin Laden to embrace fundamentalist Islam. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, bin Laden raised millions of dollars to support the Afghan war effort, recruited Muslim fighters from around the world, and brought in construction equipment to build better roads for the mujahideen. Bergen dispels the myth that the CIA supported the formation of al-Qaeda (though the agency did funnel $3 billion in aid to Afghan fighters) and sharply critiques the slowness of America’s response to the terrorist group’s rise. He also delves into the 1998 attack on the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, the planning for 9/11, bin Laden’s escape from the mountains of Tora Bora when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, and the raid that killed him in 2011. Documents seized in that raid reveal that at the time of his death, bin Laden believed his strategy for bringing down America had failed. Surprising insights (as a young man, bin Laden loved Bruce Lee movies and drove a white Chrysler with red leather seats) and fluid prose enrich this authoritative portrait of the terrorist leader and the movement he inspired. Foreign affairs buffs will be fascinated. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 07/16/2021
Release date: 08/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-2606-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-2608-1
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