From Peter Bergen, author of Holy War Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I Know: "Mike Scheuer was long the dean of U.S. government analysts of Osama bin Laden. Out of government Scheuer has continued to be one of the most original and thoughtful interpreters of bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and in this volume he has distilled his decade and a half of thinking about them to great effect, synthesizing a large body of literature to produce a portrait of bin Laden that is authoritative."
Indie Groundbreaking Book: Osama Bin Laden
Oxford University Press Publishes Controversial Biography Just Prior to Bin Laden's Death
On May 1st, a little more than two months after Oxford University Press published former CIA bin Laden Unit chief Michael Scheuer's acclaimed biography, Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks was killed by U.S. Navy Seals.
While the timing would be a plus for the marketing of any bin Laden book, it's particularly interesting for Scheuer's book since its focus, and the focus of his two previous books -- Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terrorism and Through Our Enemies Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America -- is on how so many experts have underestimated, misjudged, and misunderstood bin Laden.
No less an authority than bin Laden, himself, weighed in on this. "If you want to understand what's going on and if you would like to get to know some of the reasons for you [Americans] losing the war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer," Osama bin Laden said in his last known videotape, in 2007, according to Oxford University Press.
"Bin Laden is not the caricature that we have made of him," Scheuer writes. "...America has chosen to fight an enemy existing only in its leaders' minds, while bin Laden and his allies are on their way to victory on terms they have defined." Scheuer's book reveals bin Laden as a complex man -- "pious, brave, generous, intelligent, charismatic, patient, visionary, stubborn, egalitarian, and most of all, realistic" -- on a mission rather than a "mad" man. The author also discounts the idea that bin Laden had few allies and that they are "illiterate homicidal maniacs."
"To be clear, my intention is not to praise Osama bin Laden but to help bury him," Scheuer writes in Osama Bin Laden. And, perhaps, with the work reflected in this book, he did.
Osama Bin Laden 304 pages; hardcover; $19.95 ISBN13: 978-0-19-973866-3 ISBN10: 0-19-973866-1
About the Author: Michael Scheuer was the chief of the CIA's bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999 and remained a counterterrorism analyst until 2004. He lives in the Washington, DC area.
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As a journalist, columnist, essayist, and media critic, Nina L. Diamond's work has appeared in many publications, including Omni magazine, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, and The Miami Herald. She was a regular contributor to a number of "late, great" national, regional, and newspaper Sunday magazines, including Omni; the award-winning South Florida magazine; and Sunshine, the Ft. Lauderdale (now South Florida) Sun-Sentinel's Sunday magazine. She covers the arts and sciences; the media, publishing, and current affairs; and writes feature articles, interviews, commentary, humor/satire/parody, essays, and reviews. Ms. Diamond is also the author of Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers & Healers (Lotus Press) and the unfortunately titled Purify Your Body (Three Rivers Press/Crown/Random House) , a book of natural health reporting which has been a selection of The Book-of-the-Month Club's One Spirit Book Club and the Quality Paperback Book Club. For its entire run from 1984-1998, she was a writer and performer on Pandemonium, the National Public Radio (NPR) satirical humor program, which aired on WLRN-FM in Miami. She has appeared on Oprah, discussing the publishing industry, but, in a case of very bad timing, that appearance was two years before her first book was published. She has written her Much Ado About Publishing column for Independent Publisher since 2003.