Title: Growing up Bin Laden
Author: Jean Sasson (with Najwa Bin Laden and Omar Bin Laden)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press; First Edition edition (October 27, 2009)
Set in: Saudi Arabia
Genre: Non-Fiction (memoir)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
My thoughts: Having read and loved most of Jean Sasson’s books, I’m always happy when I discover she’s written a new book. This book was more interesting to me because it was written on Osama Bin Laden, the elusive ‘self-proclaimed’ jihadi. Although I have intense hate for him, there is a part of me that wants to know why and how does a man become the Osama. How does a guy have so much control over so many people that they were willing to die for him? Also, What kind of family life did he have? All this and the author’s name led me to read this book.
The book starts with Osama’s life in Jeddah, then Sudan and finally to Afghanistan. Because the book is from his family’s point of view it doesn’t have details of his jihadi life but enough to note the major crossroads of his life and how it shaped and encouraged him towards a violent future.
The first thing that struck me about this book is the honesty with which it’s written. It must have taken immense strength from the wife and son to narrate this. They don’t pretend to hate Osama for the sake of the world. They loved and tried to please him in spite of what he was. His sons and wives spent their lives travelling with him to various countries and living in increasingly deteriorating conditions. Osama was a rich and successful builder to begin with. His family lived in luxury until Osama became overly “religious”. This book is not written for the sake of writing one. I have read memoirs of people where all they write is common knowledge. But this book reveals a different side to Osama, it shows him as a devoted family man. Time Magazine describes it best
‘The thrill of being a fly on the wall of the bin Laden family’.
The book was written before Osama dies so that part is still a mystery but fortunately I have a later edition of the book which gives a brief idea of the reaction of his family to his death. I seriously cannot stop talking about ‘Growing up Bin Laden‘ and since there is no one else I can talk to, I am happy and grateful I have this place.
This is really the best kind of memoir, when family (or other types of loved ones) try to complete an image of a person, without negating the image that exists in the public eye. I think I would enjoy Growing up Bin Laden very much.
Growing Up bin Laden is a riveting book that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I first read it when it first came out and I have never forgotten it. The author Jean Sasson really left no stone unturned in writing this book.
I think I read this a while ago. If it’s the book I’m thinking of, I remember being fascinated by it.
It would be hard to participate in a book that is sympathetic to a man hated by so many. That being said I don’t know if I really want to read anything that would make me see Osama other than that of the terrorist he became. Not very charitable of me I know.
A must read! I heard a lot about Jean Sasson and reading “For The Love Of A son” already made me a fan of hers! Thanks for sharing (:
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