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Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America Paperback – February 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-1574885538 ISBN-10: 1574885537 Edition: 1St Edition
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Here "a senior U.S. civil servant with two decades of experience in the U.S. intelligence community's work on Afghanistan and South Asia" argues that the U.S. was unprepared for September 11 because "our own naivet‚ and insularity led us to underestimate the complexity and determination of our adversaries." Examining bin Laden's words and his leadership qualities, the author says that Al Qaeda remains largely intact and that its next attack will be more lethal than September 11.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"A work of uncommon analytical acuity and perspicacity. The author has brilliantly captured the essence of the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. His understanding of the beliefs and ideology that animate bin Laden and his followers sheds new and important light on al Qaeda's intentions, mindset, and targeting patterns. Through Our Enemies' Eyes is likely to become a classic in the literature on terrorism."

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books; 1St Edition edition (February 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574885537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574885538
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,415,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Scheuer is a twenty-plus-year CIA veteran. From 1996 to 1999, he served as the Chief of the bin Laden unit (aka Alec Station), the Osama bin Laden tracking unit at the Counterterrorism Center. He then worked as Special Adviser to the Chief of the bin Laden unit from September 2001 to November 2004. He resigned from the CIA in 2004. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University and a Senior Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, writing regularly for its online publication Global Terrorism Analysis. He lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Tomecide on June 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
After reading numerous books by so-called "terrorism experts," I was worried that the bookshelves would sadly fill with ill-informed literary diarrhea about one of today's most important issues. This book, however, provides a refreshing and skillful account of the rise of bin Ladin and Sunni extremism. Unlike other authors who churn out manuscripts with little substantive experience in the matter on which they are writing, the author obviously works in the intelligence community on counterterrorism issues. Most other books about bin Ladin are nothing more than a collection of warrants and press clippings, but this book provides substantive analysis of bin Ladin's pinnacle role in the rise of global terrorism. This is by far the best book I have read on the subject and I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to have a better understanding of what the country was facing prior to September 11, 2001. It also provides an alarming look at the current threat posed by al-Qaeda and Sunni extremist elements. If you want an uplifting book about how the U.S. Government safely has its hands around the issue of terrorism, this is not the book for you. If you want to learn about what the country is facing and how menacing and developed this new adversary really is, this is the book for you. It is written for the average reader, it is not an academic opus for the over-educated.
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113 of 126 people found the following review helpful By Newt Gingrich THE on January 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a remarkable book well worth reading by anyone who wants to know how dangerous our opponents are and how difficult the war with terrorism could get. The author is described as "a senior U.S. intelligence officer with nearly two decades of experience in national security issues related to Afghanistan and South Asia." He was forced to publish the book anonymously because it is so different from the pre-September 11 analysis of his employing agency.
His own disgust with the American intelligence bureaucracy is evident in his acknowledgments when he cites Mark Helprin about men who "knowing very little or next to nothing, take pride in telling everyone else what to do." He continues with praise for young civil servants "whose work ethic, intellectual honesty, and personal courage inspire awe and-if unleashed-are more than match for America's foes, foreign or domestic. Too often, however, their work is stymied by senior officers of my own generation. Mostly men, these senior officers have made careers by keeping silent in the face of unfairness, avoiding risk, and refusing to make decisions . . . Fortunately, most of the Republic's younger civil servants recognize with Helprin that this behavior is `more than a pity, more than a disgrace, it is despicable'" (xiv).
The current strategy of focusing narrowly on Al Qaeda, Bin Laden, and body counts "is the road to disaster, for the positions and force bin Laden has presented are a far more lethal and varied threat than that posed by any of those we have labeled as `terrorists' over the past quarter century. The strength of his personality and message is likely to lead to an enduring legacy that will long survive his departure from the scene" (xvii).
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By C. Catherwood on August 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is by far the best of the countless books on Bin Laden (and there are a lot of them...) The author really knows what he is talking about, and since most of it was written BEFORE 9/11 that fact shows all the more why this is so important for every person to read. There is no fancy theorising in this book, and the author also shows that bin Laden really is religious in his motivation - it is his warped interpretation of Islam that is behind all this, and not some ludicrous notion of people hating us for our freedoms. Read it and be truly well informed on the present crisis. Christopher Catherwood, author of CHURCHILL'S FOLLY: HOW WINSTON CHURCHILL CREATED MODERN IRAQ (Carroll and Graf, 2004) and CHRISTIANS MUSLIMS AND ISLAMIC RAGE (Zondervan, 2003)
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Alexander B. Anderson on November 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is undoubtedly the finest book on Bin Laden/Al Qaeda out of the countless I have read over the last several years. It is concise, clear, and absolutely terrifying as it makes clear that Al Qaeda is led by an able and charismatic genius who has been able to gather and focus the Muslim world's collective hatred of the United States and our one-sided foreign policy.

The thrust of this treatise is simple. Al Qaeda is smarter than we are (they don't have to win elections and they are not beholden to special interests), they are tougher than we are (aren't you afraid to die?), and they don't care how long it takes to win (Allah is infinitely patient and will be pleased with victory whenever it comes - why does my microwave dinner take so f*&*&%$#$ long to heat up?).

What I found most compelling is that the book is HEAVILY footnoted, quoting Muslim clerics, bin Laden, and other relevant Muslims. So, in other words, it is not some pedantic, crusty white guy lecturing me about why Al Qaeda is evil; rather it is Al Qaeda telling me in their words why they hate me and why they are going to kill me and how all of that is supported by the Koran and driven forward by the ridiculous and inarguably anti-Muslim foreign policy of this, our once great and now downward-trending country.

Whew, what a book. And what a world we live in.
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