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Growing up bin Laden: Osama's Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Astonishingly candid look at a prominent Arab's family

I expected this book to be a guarded flash peek under the veil, so to speak, but it was an honest, detailed, and thoughtful portrait of an Arab household. We hear from Osama's first wife, Najwa, and Najwa's fourth son, Omar, who give two distinct points of view into Osa...
I expected this book to be a guarded flash peek under the veil, so to speak, but it was an honest, detailed, and thoughtful portrait of an Arab household. We hear from Osama's first wife, Najwa, and Najwa's fourth son, Omar, who give two distinct points of view into Osama bin Laden's household. At first I was perplexed that a son, an Arab son no less, would discuss internal family affairs so publicly. The more I read, however, the more I understood that Osama bin Laden sacrificed his privacy with his acts of war, and even his family members felt alienated from his peculiar view of the world. His son tells us that he hated his enemies more than he loved his family, and it saddens us, for then destruction is his only goal. Osama has given up his life for...not his family, not his country, not his countrymen. Certainly not for his god. But to ruin his enemies. Can there be anything more impoverished than that sad fact?

When Osama married the first time, he was a wealthy young man with a bright future who sought to raise the approbation Islam received in the world. But he was exceptionally humorless in his approach to life. He expected such seriousness from his growing family of sons that he would not allow them to smile enough to reveal their teeth. "...my father actually counted the exposed teeth, reprimanding his sons on the number their merriment revealed." When they were both young, Najwa and Osama moved to Saudi Arabia from Syria to live in relative comfort with Osama and his extended family in Jeddah. By the end of the story told here, his wife was living in a cave in Afghanistan, suffering untold deprivations.

This is a fascinating memoir of unusual candor which deserves to be read widely.

posted by TheReadingWriter on December 31, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

You must check it out

Why would any AMERICAN buy this trash

posted by dontwanttobuyit on May 5, 2011

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  • Posted December 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Astonishingly candid look at a prominent Arab's family

    I expected this book to be a guarded flash peek under the veil, so to speak, but it was an honest, detailed, and thoughtful portrait of an Arab household. We hear from Osama's first wife, Najwa, and Najwa's fourth son, Omar, who give two distinct points of view into Osama bin Laden's household. At first I was perplexed that a son, an Arab son no less, would discuss internal family affairs so publicly. The more I read, however, the more I understood that Osama bin Laden sacrificed his privacy with his acts of war, and even his family members felt alienated from his peculiar view of the world. His son tells us that he hated his enemies more than he loved his family, and it saddens us, for then destruction is his only goal. Osama has given up his life for...not his family, not his country, not his countrymen. Certainly not for his god. But to ruin his enemies. Can there be anything more impoverished than that sad fact?

    When Osama married the first time, he was a wealthy young man with a bright future who sought to raise the approbation Islam received in the world. But he was exceptionally humorless in his approach to life. He expected such seriousness from his growing family of sons that he would not allow them to smile enough to reveal their teeth. "...my father actually counted the exposed teeth, reprimanding his sons on the number their merriment revealed." When they were both young, Najwa and Osama moved to Saudi Arabia from Syria to live in relative comfort with Osama and his extended family in Jeddah. By the end of the story told here, his wife was living in a cave in Afghanistan, suffering untold deprivations.

    This is a fascinating memoir of unusual candor which deserves to be read widely.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 15, 2009

    A Must-Read Book

    Jean Sasson's books always fascinate me. I have read all of them and every one of them takes me to a place so different from what most of us know. Bin Laden's wife and son invite us to the inner sanction of an evil man's brain. With Jean Sasson's mastery of the written word, they are able to reveal startling secrets to the outside world. A very well-written book that deserve the attention of all lovers of history!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2011

    FASCINATING!

    I was blown away by this book. I never understood osamas hatred of the US. I found this book so interesting I could not put it down. I found the culture and the way women were kept inside an uneducated and covered head to toe so bizarre in this day and age. So foreign to our modern life. It is fascinating to see the progression of Osama's devout Muslim beliefs turn radical. Thank you Omar and your mom for an insight into this elusive complicated man. He reminds me of Hitler but on a much smaller scale. Highly recommend!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2010

    Growing Up bin Laden - a fascinating read!

    Growing Up bin Laden provides illuminating insight into the early life of Osama bin Laden and reveals how this man's hatred was formed as witnessed by his son Omar. This book helps a person to understand the basic history of Al Qaeda and their motivations and sheds light on the inner workings of the world's most notorious terrorist.
    I enjoyed the opportunity to see how the bin Laden's lived, not just because of Osama bin Laden, but also because their culture is so different than anything that I have encountered. In reading this book I gained a greater understanding of Muslim culture. It may be surprising, but I found Osama bin Laden's first wife, Najwa bin Laden, to be a strong, courageous woman and his son Omar to be a gentle, caring man. The book is quite a fascinating read and I would recommend it to anyone interested in world events or exploring how other cultures live.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Enlightening

    This is a culture that is foreign to us. Further indication we will be fighting these people for long time. Excellent read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    Being Osama's Wife and a Devout Muslim

    This was a fascinating account by Bin Laden's 1st wife and his 4th son about their daily lives -- their trials and tribulations, their loyalty, and yet, their growing concern about what Osama bin Laden was doing. He was initially a wealthy man, but his family lived in poverty because he thought it would build their character and prepare them for what might come. Saudi Arabia kicked him out and took away the family's citizenship, but he never shared his plans with them. They were very isolated first in Sudan and later in Afghanistan, and yet the world still had an impact. The book ended just days before the 9-11 bombing. I would like to know what has happened to them since then.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Any thing writen about the world's #1 terrorist makes news

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this behind the scenes biography of Bin Laden's married and family life. Jean Sasson is a skilled writer who portrays Bin Laden's first wife and fourth son in a probing light. I recommend this book to gain insight into the elusive terrorist's world.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2010

    Happy to introduce the world to Najwa and Omar

    This is Jean Sasson. I am pleased to see that this book is proving to be thought-provoking for readers. The past two years have been quite a journey, from the first day I heard from the Bin Ladens, through the long hours of interviewing and writing, and now seeing the book in print. It is a great feeling for a writing. I believe this book has great value. I believe that when read, it creates understanding. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to ask and I will respond.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2009

    growing up bin laden

    cant wait to read this fasinating book, i love the work of jean sasson, she give a true insight into the lives of real people with a tragic past who eventually find peace, i think this book will be a fantastic read, it is the only way we will know the full truth about the life of osama bin laden, i recommend that you read all her books

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2012

    Captivating!!!

    This is one of my favorite books. Everyone should read this because it gives you a behind the scenes look of the Bin Ladens family circle, outside from what the media wants you to believe. This book throws you right into the personal and private moments between Osama and his children, as well as showing the role of a father, husband, and the many close friendships Osama had. It helps you fully understand the Bin Ladens in a deep and up close manner. A 5-Star Book!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Great Story of the Personal life of Osama bin Laden! Must Read!

    This book is written with the help of Jean Sasson who is an excellent author, however, Najwa, Osama's first wife, and Omar, Najwa and Osama's fourth son, are the ones whos stories we read. These two were both very close to Osama and they share their experiences and viewpoints of Osama throughout their lives. Arabs are very secretive people, and it must have taken a lot of will power to speak so openly about his life, and give the world a chance to read about it. However, Omar was very against his father, as you will find out, and he wanted to clear his family name from any disgrace it holds due to Osama. He felt that his the whole bin Laden family deserved this chance. Osama created an awful world for his family and Omar felt that his privacy was invaded due to Osama's treturous life. We find out that Omar was Osama's predecessor. Omar prayed for peace while Osama prayed for war. They ended up being nothing alike. Osama claimed everything he did was for his God. Omar clearly knew that God would never want killings like this to happen. Osama married his first wife, Najwa, who was also his first cousin. She envied Osama's way of looking at life. He was very serious, and greatly involved in his religion. His family grew as he was at one time married to four wive and had over 13 children altogether. They lived well in Saudi Arabia, but soon Osama became involved in the creation of the Jihad group, al-Qaeda, a group that ruined him forever. They moved to Khartoum, Sudan to start a new life. But soon, they were punished and forced to move to Afghanistan. Here everything began to go bad. Omar and Najwa bring us into an untold world of, not only the bin Laden family, but also the Arab world. It is a very fascinating story that everbody should read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Disturbingly fascinating read

    I couldn't put the book down. Gave me s further appreciation for the driving force behind this truly evil man.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 27, 2011

    Very good

    Very informative of their culture and their homelife while living with Osama bin Laden. Enjoyed it very much

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 28, 2011

    Excellent

    I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. The behind the scenes view into this madman, who put his radical views in front of everything was as fascinating as it was pathetic.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2011

    Great story! Funny, how it is stated many times, that Osama is in pakistan

    Wonderful read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2011

    excellent

    This book proof that you can not judge the book from it's cover, because even though he is Osama's Bin Laden son he is not like his father,he's not a terrorist he's a peace maker. I love this book!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2013

    Amazing Read, extremely well written

    A must read, I could no put it down. It definitely gives you an insight to the lifestyle of an enigmatic individual who hid so many atrocities from his own family. Excellent book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2012

    Great reading.

    Highly recommended. An excellent book; held your interest; didn't want to put it down. Suggest reading it and learn how life was like with Bin Laden.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2012

    A great read for those with an open mind

    Both Najwa and Omar are truthful and speak well telling the story of their lives. You will be moved and they will draw you into the life of this infamous man. Both Najwa and Omar are courageous, amazing people.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    Great book

    It took me about 6 months to buy this book. I really had mixed fellings about spending my money on a book written by a Bin Laden. But..... it was such a great read. I have learned that not all the Bin Ladens sons agreed with their father and wanted to marry and get away from him. My heart really went out to his sons. He was not a loving father. I think everyone sould read this book. It really opened my eyes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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