Literature of terror: Books Osama spawned

May 2nd, 2011 - 7:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US forces in Pakistan, was a shadowy figure who spawned a vast booty of books, art and performance acts. A list of some of the books inspired by the ‘padshah’ of terror who masterminded the 9/11 attack:

* “The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda” written by Peter L. Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst is an overview of the war on terror. It explores the persona of the Al Qaeda leader and an intimate understanding of how the organisation works on a day-to-day basis. The book said the Al Qaeda had a growing list of enemies, including the Muslims, who did not agree with their “ultra-fundamentalist” view.

* “The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century” by Steve Coll

The Pulitzer Prize winning author portrays the 9/11 mastermind as a complex human being and his relationships with his father, Muhammad, who made a fortune in Saudi Arabia as the king’s principal builder; and his older brother Salem, a British-educated, music-loving playboy. Coll suggests bin Laden turned to jihad because of the worsening relationships with the Saudi royal family, his own relatives and anger at America. The US forced Sudan to expel bin Laden from the country where he raised horses and sunflowers on a farm while training jihadis).

* “Osama: The Making Of A Terrorist” by Jonathan Randal

This book by a former Washington Post correspondent chronicles Osama’s combat experiences as an anti-Soviet jihadi, his growing radicalisation and the role that various mentors and surrogate fathers played in his evolution.

* “Osama Bin Laden” by Michael Scheuer

The author, who once headed the CIA’s Osama bin Laden’s unit, dissects the puritanical religious views of the terror mastermind. He says that bin Laden was not a rash terrorist but a shrewd strategist and tactician. He says the 2003 Iraq war was a great training ground for bin Laden.

* “Holy War Inc: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden” by Peter L. Bergen

The writer says in the book that bin Laden’s anger at US has little to do with Western culture; movies or drug and alcohol use; but rather with America’s policies in the Middle East namely “the continued US military presence in Arabia; US support for Israel; its continued bombing of Iraq; and its support for regimes such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia that bin Laden regards as apostates from Islam”.

* “Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan; and bin Laden; from the Soviet invasion to September 10, 2001″ by Steve Coll

This book examines the C.I.A.’s covert role during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s and America’s subsequent neglect of the country during the post-Cold War 1990s, when the Taliban and Al Qaeda took advantage of the political vacuum.

* “In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan” by Seth G. Jones

This book by a professor at Georgetown University documents several decades of relations between US and Afghanistan, focusing on what went awry after America’s successful routing of the Taliban in late 2001. Among the author’s conclusions is that US must “persuade Pakistani military and civilian leaders to conduct a sustained campaign against militants mounting attacks in Afghanistan and the region”.

* “The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11″ by Lawrence Wright

Based on more than 500 interviews, this book gives the reader a view of the events leading to 9/11. It also throws light on the motley cast which made the Qaeda core like bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, who promoted the idea that only violence could change history. He also follows bin Laden as a shy adolescent to a radical youth.

* “The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of Al Qaeda’s Leader” by Peter L. Bergen

No one knows more about Osama than Peter L. Bergen. In 1997, well before the West suddenly became aware of the world’s most sought-after terrorist, Bergen met him and has followed his activity ever since. The book provides unprecedented insights into bin Laden’s life and character drawing on the experiences of some of his most intimate associates.

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