The New York Times calls GROWING UP BIN LADEN: "The most complete account available of the terrorist's immediate family." (May 15, 2011)
A true story that few ever believed would come to light, GROWING UP BIN LADEN uncovers startling revelations and hidden secrets carefully guarded by the most wanted terrorist of our lifetime, Osama bin Laden.
"I was not always the wife of Osama bin Laden. Once I was an innocent child dreaming little girl dreams..."
Thus begins this powerful story as Najwa bin Laden, who married her cousin Osama bin Laden at the age of 15 to become his first wife and the mother to eleven of his children, and her son, Omar bin Laden, the fourth-born son of Osama bin Laden. Together, mother and son tell an extraordinarily powerful story of a man hated by so many, yet both loved and feared by his family, with spine-tingling details about the life and times of the man they knew as a husband and father, including: - Osama's disapproval of modern conveniences, including electricity and medicine- His plan to toughen up his sons by taking them into the desert without food or water- Transporting his wives and children to the rough terrain of Sudan, where he claimed to be preparing them for attacks from western powers, commanding them to dig holes, and to sleep in those holes, allowing nothing more than sand and twigs for cover- Omar's horror at the rape and murder of a boy his own age, by members of a jihadist group living among them in the Sudan. - What happened in the bin Laden home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on the morning of September 11, 2001, and Omar's surprise phone call with his mother, who escaped from Afghanistan only two days before the shattering events that killed so many innocent people
Since September 11, 2001, journalists have struggled to uncover carefully guarded information about Osama's private life. Until now, Osama Bin Laden's family members have not cooperated with any writers or journalists. Now, with unprecedented access and insight, Jean Sasson, author of the bestselling Princess: A True Story Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, takes us inside the secret world of Osama bin Laden.
This memoir by Osama bin Laden\x92s first wife and fourth son attempts to illuminate the flesh-and-blood man behind the jihad. They trade chapters, starting in the 1980s and Afghanistan\x92s insurgency against the Soviet Union, through suicide bombing of the American embassy in Kenya and the USS Cole, on through the hijacking of jetliners in order to fly them into the World Trade Center. Najwa recounts a domestic life of courtship in Saudi Arabia, marriage (one among six wives for bin Laden), children (11 for Najwa in all) and living in almost total isolation according to her husband\x92s strict conservative demands. Omar recalls being toughened up by his father (he was deprived of water while in the desert), growing up uneducated, worrying about his mother\x92s numerous pregnancies in primitive settings and witnessing Qaeda training camps in the mountains of Tora Bora, where his father was nearly killed by American forces in 2003. The material for this memoir began when Omar contacted Jean Sasson, a veteran Middle East correspondent, requesting that she write about his efforts to start a peace movement. At Omar\x92s request, his mother offered to participate, too. The result is a memoir that adds color to an otherwise cloudy character, but one that stops short of true revelation, as mother and son left Afghanistan before September 11. Omar has since made public demands\x97which are rare for a son to do in Arab culture\x97of his father to \x93change his ways.\x94
A captivating read, but I was somewhat disappointed by the editing as there were a lot of typo mistakes, the word "flat" has been expressed as "fat" and so on, it's a small annoyance that somewhat irritated me during an otherwise captivating insight on the private life of the Bin Ladens
I've always been curious to learn more about Osama bin laden beyond all the crazy stuff in the media, and Omar's story really gives you an idea of what the ordinary many was like. Very interesting tail.
This was such an interesting story. It really gave you a feel for how it must have been growing up so close to Osama.... Very interesting !!!