Osama bin Laden: 7 books that offer insight into the man and his actions

Who was Osama bin Laden? The mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist plot was one of the best-known men in the world and yet in many ways he remained an enigma. The son of a wealthy businessman, the man whom most Westerners knew as an archterrorist was also a soft-spoken family man with a fondness for poetry. The following books offer insight into Osama bin Laden – the man, his convictions, and how he came to cast so large a shadow over the Western world.

1. "Osama bin Laden," by Michael Scheuer

Michael Scheuer, a 20-year veteran of the CIA, was chief of the agency’s Osama bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999. Although his books (which have included "Imperial Hubris" and "Through Our Enemies' Eyes," originally published anonymously) have been controversial, it would be a mistake to underestimate Scheuer's deep knowledge of his subject. In this, his latest book, Scheuer argues that US analysts too often underestimate bin Laden, treating him as a one-dimensional mad man and failing to recognize his “piety, generosity, personal bravery, strategic ability, charisma and patience.” Scheuer has long believed that bin Laden – a onetime student of economics – fostered a carefully calculated plan to destroy the US by provoking it into a long and costly war with the Muslim world.

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