The world's leading expert on Osama bin Laden narrates the life of the man who set the course of American foreign policy for the 21st century and whose ideological heirs the nation continues to battle today.
It is a page-turner that weaves back and forth between the man and the terrorist, providing poignant glimpses of key figures and carefully chronicling all the missed opportunities, ignored warnings and strategic blunders of the United States ... Bergen had access to the 470,000 files taken during the raid, and he uses this material lightly, writing with the lucidity of an experienced journalist ... Rather than try to explain where bin Laden’s self-confidence came from, Bergen simply describes it. It is all the more fascinating as a result ... Bergen’s narrative illustrates some of the iron laws of terrorism and counterterrorism.
... intimate and detailed ... Bergen is particularly perceptive about the American government’s reaction to the rise of bin Laden and the jihadist phenomenon ... intelligence officers such as Gina Bennett and Michael Scheuer, who rightly deserve the praise Bergen gives them ... There is a lesson in this history as we seem to be embarking on a new cold war with China.
Bergen...deepens readers’ understanding of Osama bin Liden, founder of the terrorist group al-Qaeda and the force behind the 9/11 attacks ... Bergen meticulously describes bin Laden’s youth, family, and radicalization. The narrative gains speed and suspense as Bergen recounts bin Laden’s ruthless rise to power, al-Qaeda’s early successes, and bin Laden’s last bitter years, leading to an excellent summary of bin Laden’s effect on American and international politics .... Bergen’s detailed, incisive, and clarifying biography is an invaluable work marking 9/11’s twentieth anniversary.