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Growing Up bin Laden: Osama's Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 27, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 137 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 27, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In 1974, at the age of 15, Najwa married her first cousin, 17-year-old Osama bin Laden. She had grown up in a conservative Muslim household; he was one of the wealthy, powerful bin Ladens. She recalls a young husband drawn away on business and her life of seclusion and duty, giving birth to seven sons and four daughters, accepting other wives and children into the family and its itinerant homes. Omar, the fourth child of Osama and Najwa, recalls a severely strict father: no toys, no ventilators for boys who suffered from asthma, hikes in the desert with no water. Omar remembers accompanying his father to a training camp at 15 and their later confrontations—and eventual break—as he began to understand his father’s involvement in al-Qaeda. He also recalls conflicting emotions, including love and pride in his father and eventually shame for his father’s renown as a terrorist and architect of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. A compelling look at the intimate family life of a notorious man, as told by his wife and son. --Vanessa Bush

Review

[Audio Review] Two of Osama bin Ladin s family members provide a troubling, yet fascinating, look at his private life. His first wife, Nawja, and fourth son, Omar, alternate chapters that recount the family's descent from privilege to subsistence living in a training camp in Afghanistan. With the mere hint of an accent, narrator Mel Foster captures Omar's persona as a boy as his once-revered father becomes increasingly militant and fanatical. Lorna Raver and Sherry Adams give convincing voice to the naïve Nawja as she tells of family life and her relationship with her husband. The female narrators also present an introduction and appendices full of historical and current family information. M.O.B. © AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine --AudioFile --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312560168
  • ASIN: B004AYDB76
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,754,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really don't know how to describe this book----it is not a book that is at all disrespectful of Osama bin Laden yet it is brutally honest. Two of the authors, a wife and a son of bin Laden, clearly love(d) the man but they have quite a saga to tell about life with him before he became a hate filled terrorist.
Their description of Osama's journey from devout Muslim to a jihadist is fascinating.
Their "take" on the reasons why Osama came to hate the West, particularly Americans and the British, is ---again---fascinating.
Furthermore, the main reason (according to them) that he plotted, planned and committed the acts that led to 9-11 are, if they are true, shocking and seem to involve his feelings of personal betrayal by the Saudi royal family regarding certain events of the First Gulf War.
The book starts off a bit slowly but catches up speed quickly and now I want re-read it and try to absorb more details.
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Format: Hardcover
Bin Laden is just like a lot of spoiled rich kids, except that he's not. We find that he was heir to a construction fortune, but that he was a fine busnessman in his own right. He excelled at civil engineering. He likes to drive fast cars--fast. He allowed his first wife to select his third wife, as though she were choosing new decor for the living room. He takes his family from the luxury of Saudi Arabia to the poverty of a mountain cave in Afghanistan.

Sasson was the first major writer to open up the veiled life of Saudi women in her blockbuster, "Princess." Many critics, including the illustrious Christopher Hitchens, dismissed it as over-written and false. Then, after the Gulf War, we found out that Sasson was right. Now she takes us into the family life of Osama bin Laden. This is an important book. If we think of bin Laden as a one-dimensional monster, we will never understand him. He's an enemy of democracy and western liberalism, but we'll never prevail over him and his followers if we remain ignorant of all aspects of his life.

This is the most fascinating book I've read in a long, long while.
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Format: Hardcover
I was sorry when I came to the end of Growing Up Bin Laden; I wanted more. I read it slowly and savoured it as much as I could, but it is a page turner. I worked for many years in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; I have travelled overland through Afghanistan and Pakistan and can vouch that Jean Sasson has caught the atmosphere and the modus vivendi of the region.

As the stories told by Nawja and Omar unfolded I could easily picture the lives they lived and was touched by their loyalty to Osama bin Laden. But I was so deeply shocked when Osama told Omar and his brothers that they meant no more to him than any other Afghani, that even now there lingers an ache for them. Maybe one day Ms Sasson will interview Osama and get his side of the story!

This is an easy, informative and interesting read. Although the events are harrowing at times Nawja and Omar hold onto their hope until the very end when they are forced to accept reality.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a "can't put down" until you've finished book. A brilliant insight in how the mind and obsession of Osama Bin laden worked.
I bought three copies of this book. My first after reading I gave to a friend. The second for my Kindle. The third to a friend who had worked for the Bin Laden family in Saudi Arabia
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
We all knew,for the most part,what kind of man Bin Laden was. But Through reading this book, I have learned about his beginnings,and what drove him to his eventual determined destruction of the western world.Narrated by his first Wife,who was also his first cousin,and one of their sons,they talk about him as they percieved him.His first wife,who was very much in love with him when they married,eventually saw him for what he was,as did his son.He eventually took four more wives.A few left him eventually.This is a man who came from great wealth at an early age,and wound up with nothing. Toward the end of his life, they were without a country or a home,often living in caves high up in the mountains with no running water or electricity.I really felt sorry for the children,who got little or no fatherly attention from Bin Laden.The son he wanted to groom for terrorism,wanted nothing to do with it. He seemed like a gentle soul who just didn't fit in with his father's plans. This is a wonderful book that delves into Bin Laden's personality,his hatred,and his personal life,as told by his family members.If you are looking for a really good book about his life,get this one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I give a 5 stars to Osama's wife, son and to Mrs Sasson for taking the time energy to write this book. Thank you to Omar for wanting "us" to get a more accurate picture of what made his father the terrorist we were told he was. the great lesson I've got from this book is that ANYBODY could become hateful,vengeful to the point of killing.If a soft 17 year old man, shy and quiet could develop into hate, I-you-us too could unleash the most destructive instincts we all carry inside.It seems the betray from a admired and loved one is a very stong trigger... Osama was not the 1st and will not be the last to react with hate,vengence and act upon these feelings of retaliation to fellings of let down, un-aknowledgment, put aside . What would have happened if the royals would have agreed to include Osama in the fight in Kuwait? recognize his efforts? we will never know... but I suspect we would not have the 9/11.
I wish Omar and his mother peace in the heart.I believe readers cannot remain untouched by the story of the unfolding of Osama's life and the choices he made in the name of JUSTICE.Again thank you for all who made this book available to all.
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