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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 May 5, 2011

    You must check it out

    Why would any AMERICAN buy this trash

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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