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Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America [Paperback]

Michael Scheuer
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Paperback, February 2003 $17.91  
There is a newer edition of this item:
Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America, Revised Edition Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America, Revised Edition 4.1 out of 5 stars (58)
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Book Description

February 2003 1574885537 978-1574885538 First Edition
All Americans must read this book in order to truly understand the reasons why radical Muslims like Osama bin Laden and his followers have declared war on America and the West. Furthermore, only this book accurately describes the severity of the threat they will continue to pose, with or without bin Laden’s leadership, to our national security.

To win the war against terrorism, the author argues that we must first stop dismissing militant Muslims as “extremists” or “religious fanatics.” Formulating a successful military strategy requires that we must see the enemy as they perceive themselves—highly trained and motivated soldiers who fervently believe their cause is righteous. The author describes how militants throughout the Islamic world are enraged by what they believe is Western aggression against their people, religion, and culture. Though bin Laden declared war on America years ago—not once but twice—the author argues that American complacence in the face of such violent threats stems from the increasing secularization and moral relativism of American society and culture. Even if bin Laden is brought to justice, the author warns, the dangers posed by radical Islamic militants will not disappear, and we must be prepared for a protracted war against terrorism. This important book will make a major impact on how America thinks about its enemy and itself.

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Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America + Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror
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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."

Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.; First Edition edition (February 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574885537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574885538
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,934,015 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, an expertly written book on Bin Laden June 20, 2002
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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112 of 125 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Sobering View of the War on Terrorism January 8, 2003
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
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the best of the countless books on Bin Laden August 18, 2004
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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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, compelling, and a MUST read for everyone November 22, 2004
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good read, obviously from a different point of view
Published 3 days ago by yoga guy
1.0 out of 5 stars biased work
Certainly, Sheuer has a wide range of knowledge regarding Bin Laden and the Middle Eastern radicalism. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Citizen of the USA or UK should read this book to understand why...
To be in a citizen in a nation which is spending endless billions on the war on terrorism and which kills people in all sorts of ways--most recently with drones--and not to realize... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Happy Poet
Published 7 months ago by GALLANTBIRD
1.0 out of 5 stars propaganda garbage
The CIA and FBI admit they didn't even have proof that Osama was connected to 9/11, so in essence this book describes how to best assassinate someone not convicted of any crimes. Read more
Published on March 21, 2012 by Brandon
4.0 out of 5 stars Serious, Informed, and Damned Important!
I was in the middle of this when Osama was taken out (what? two weeks ago?). Yes, I'm reviewing the "Anonymous" edition, because I didn't know who Michael Scheuer was and this is... Read more
Published on May 21, 2011 by Davidicus Marcus
4.0 out of 5 stars Dense but rich: Jus the facts, man
Mikey does go looong...but in a good way. This is a must-read for politoholics like me who want the truth, the whole truth, and no parsing spin on the truth. Just the facts, man.
Published on April 21, 2010 by Intelligent Learner
4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed, informative, yet some arguments are circular
The concept of building a counterterrorism training regimen at my old firm Terrorism Research Center (TRC) was inspired by the perspectives offered here by Scheuer. Read more
Published on April 7, 2009 by Kirkhope
4.0 out of 5 stars Heavily recommended, with big caveats.
Written by the former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit, the book documents Al Qaeda's historical rise, goals, and motivations. Read more
Published on August 22, 2008 by NOYDB
1.0 out of 5 stars convoluted writing
Having read this, not sure what to call it, in 2008 in retrospect this writing has not proved valid. Read more
Published on April 21, 2008 by tompat
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