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Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden Paperback – June 4, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
As CNN terrorism analyst Bergen avows, this journalistic study of Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist network was rushed to publication and thus lacks some editorial smoothness in its delivery. Nevertheless, this book offers a mature, balanced description of bin Laden's background; a concise summary of the organization of the al-Qaeda terrorist network as it has developed in the Middle East, Europe, and America; and a brief narrative of terrorist events through September 11. Bergen asserts that bin Laden's hostility emanates from his religious opposition to an American military presence in Saudi Arabia, American policy toward Israel, and the "un-Islamic" behavior of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Bergen personalizes his story with an account of his 1997 interview with bin Laden and the contacts he made with bin Laden's militant Islamic associates. Here, an interesting story drifts a bit from bin Laden to accounts of al-Qaeda operations. Bergen has, however, pulled together a significant amount of solid information, which he presents with perception and without grand swings of passion. This is an important initial glimpse of bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the associated Taliban of Afghanistan and is strongly recommended for all libraries. John F. Riddick, Central Michigan Univ. Lib., Mt. Pleasant
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
But those with some expertise in the world of the mindless jihad masters and the issuance of pretentious fatwas will find this rather limited, I would imagine. We don't really get "Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden," but rather are provided with a narrative distilled from numerous news accounts augmented with Bergen's interviews and travel experiences. Essentially, we stay outside the organization (but so did the CIA). Furthermore, Bergen's "Holy War, Inc." characterization of al-Qaeda as a kind of multinational corporation is exactly the sort of catchy, but superficial and misleading designation that irritates the cognoscenti. Al-Qaeda does not turn a profit, nor does it look to turn a profit. It exists on funds raised from charities, from donations from Muslim fat cat businessmen, from bin Laden's inheritance and from funds siphoned from various commercial enterprises, both legal and illegal, and from what it can beg, borrow and steal. It would perhaps be more accurate to designate al-Qaeda as a Mephistophelian service organization. Perhaps "The Black Crescent" would be an appropriate agnomen.
Nonetheless, to Bergen's credit this is not the usual sort of "rush to judgment" volume churned out by book publishers to take advantage of a major news event.Read more ›
Bergen's first contention is that Osama bin Laden is grossly misunderstood by the West. Bergen begins by dispelling various rumors circulating around bin Laden. For instance, it was falsely speculated that bin Laden received an engineering degree from an American University, teamed up with Iraq to plot the 1998 African embassy bombings, and was receiving funds from the CIA. The first step Bergen, a journalist by profession, takes to give the reader a clear understanding of bin Laden is to lay out the factual aspects of bin Laden's life.
Bergen argues that it was misunderstanding that led to, what he deems as, countless blunders in U.S. foreign policy, especially the actions of the CIA, with regard to the Muslim world in the 1980s. He does not go as far as to claim that the CIA "created" bin Laden and al-Qaeda, however he does argue that the CIA committed a "significant tactical error" in giving the Pakistani Intelligence Service, the ISI, carte blanche authority over the distribution of about $3 billion to the Afghani resistance against the Soviets. The ISI, according to Bergen, mostly supported anti-Western mujahedin, including Pashtun General Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is a known associate of bin Laden.
Bergen does an excellent job of conveying the pervasiveness of al-Qaeda throughout the globe.Read more ›
To most of us the origin of the ideology and historical details that culminated in the September attacks is confusing and complex. In this very readable text that provides a look, albeit cursory, inside the politics and cultures of Pakistan and Afghanistan, we see how the framework of a highly organized and sophisticated organization that employs and trains thousands in terrorism began. Bergen informs his readers that " the men who lead these movements are generally well educated and utilize the latest in technology in their various jihads." Many Americans will learn for the first time while reading this book of the constantly updated web sites where the members of these organizations communicate, the faxes that deliver the "fatwas" around the world to the group's members and news organizations and the use of the internet and DVD's to propel the group's messages and training materials. These followers are not just hiding in caves in Afghanistan, they are on line.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Definitely a must read for anyone who's at least slightly interested in international relationsPublished 4 months ago by michaela tokarova
I learned much from this book.
'Holy War, Inc' is, first, a well-written, well-researched book, the product of four years of hard work on the author's part. Read more
This was a very thorough look at the history and inner workings of Al Queda and Osama bin Ladin's war against America and the West. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Rob Weinhold
It's a good if you would like to read about a span of events between America, Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other minority jihad groups however I felt it jumped between situations and... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Angela Davidson
With Osama bin Laden's assassination this book might seem just a matter of history. Yet the current mass bombing of the "Islamic State" reminds us that the jihad continues. Read morePublished 20 months ago by R. L. Huff
This book, finished in August of 2001, is an in-depth look at Osama bin Laden, and terrorist machine that he built. Read morePublished on November 16, 2013 by The Reviewer Formerly Known as Kurt Johnson
Good read, insights into the strange world of Islam, a seventh century religion finding itself in the 21st century. Read morePublished on November 1, 2013 by Carol Schreiber
This is a very well researched and presented time line of the origins, theories, and the 'start' of Middle East terrorism. Read morePublished on October 30, 2013 by Brian Morgan