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Osama Bin Laden: A Psychological and Political Portrait
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
In his latest book, Dennis sets out to achieve several related objectives. He provides a truly three dimensional, "living" portrait of the young Bin Laden and the influences at work in his life based on the known facts. This provides the "key" to understanding Bin Laden's mental landscape and the psychological forces at work in his young life that led him down the terrorist path. The book is unique in that aspect. Dennis then dissects Bin Laden's political techniques and speeches to show him as the Great Communicator of the radical Muslim world. Dennis shows how Bin Laden's visual imagery (lying on a humble pallet of a cave in one video) speaks to Muslims in ways that escape Western audiences. Dennis links the cave imagery to the chapter in the Koran called "The Cave." The author has an admirable understanding of the Koran and how Bin Laden plays off of the Koran in communicating to his audience. The final chapters of the book are thick with information on other fundamentalist figures from the Muslim world, past and present, and show how Bin Laden's pronouncements fit into that larger world of Islamic political thought. This gives the reader a more objective view of how unique or typical Bin Laden is compared to Qutb, Khomeini and others. The book is valuable in each of its parts as well as a whole. A nice addition to the growing Bin Laden literature.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
This smoothly written volume provides both a psychologically insightful biographical portrait of Osama Bin Laden as well as a polished and well-reasoned description of Bin Laden's place in the Islamic political firmament. Dennis is a gifted writer blessed with a talent for making a difficult topic understandable. The author's range of understanding and grasp of Muslim history was impressive. I think this book delivers what other so called biographies of Bin Laden only promise. I would recommend this book over Peter Bergen's "Holy War, Inc" or any of the others on OBL.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Mr. Dennis has once again proven himself as the quintessential scholar when it comes to knowledge about the threat posed by radical Islamists like Osma Bin Laden. The portrait painted of Bin Laden and his followers is insightful and balanced. If policy makers in the 1990s had heeded Dennis' warnings and recommendations, perhaps many lives would have been saved. Instead our children live under the black cloud of terrosim exactly as Dennis predicted.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
Dennis writes with a novelist's love of words and a biographer's interest in his subject. He avoids the legends and uncorroborated stories about Bin Laden and sticks with only the facts he is able to confirm or which have a solid factual basis. This is the largest small book I have ever read. Dennis doesn't waste time puffing his adventures in pursuit of his quarry like some journalists do. Instead, he gets out of the camera's way and takes us on a narrated tour of Bin Laden's world and his political place in it. Told with flashes of hard-won insight into the Muslim world, this book is valuable for the student as well as the generalist. I particularly liked the way he related Muslim Brother Sayyid Qutb's ideas (d. 1966) to Bin Laden's own revolutionary program and his thoughtful discussion of Bin Laden vs. Iranian President Khatami's political thought. Excellent, original and well done!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a magnificent gem of a book and is THE book as far as I'm concerned on Bin Laden. Dennis provides a masterful description and profile of Bin Laden (psychological aspects and motivations) and a very cogent explanation of how Bin Laden's political agenda and political thought fit with the intellectual currents found within the larger Muslim world. His presentation and analysis of President Khatami of Iran and Osama Bin Laden as essentially two competing spokesmen for the contemporary Muslim world illustrating the two divergent paths (reaction versus reform) that the Muslim world may take in the years ahead was both highly original and highly insightful. I thought there was more information packed into this book in 126 pages than I found as a reader (and owner) of books by people like Peter Bergen, Yossef Bodansky and others. A highly relevant expose. Makes a complex man and a complex subject very understandable.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
More than 3 years after Osama Bin Laden and his gang attacked us we still are having to deal with his threats. We need a president who will not lose sight of our true enemies. After losing so many of our young men and women and spending so much money we are no safer than we were on 9/11!

What was the point?

Please vote for John Kerry.
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