From the New York Times bestselling author of Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia
In their own words, Osama bin Laden’s wife and son tell the astonishing story of the man they knew—or thought they knew—before September 11, 2001.
The world knows Osama bin Laden as the most wanted terrorist of our time. But people are not born terrorists, and bin Laden has carefully guarded the details of his private life—until now, when his first wife and fourth-born son break the silence to take us inside his strange and secret world. In spine-tingling detail, Jean Sasson tells their story of life with a man whose growing commitment to violent jihad led him to move his wives and children from an orderly life to one of extreme danger, even choosing the teenage Omar to accompany him to the mountain fortress of Tora Bora.
""Apart from anything Bin Laden’s wives may have to say that might be useful to intelligence officers..., there is also a powerful natural curiosity about the women and their children: What was it like to live with the founder of Al Qaeda, to call him husband or father? As with Hitler or Pol Pot, you want to understand whether his bizarre combination of grandiosity and viciousness carried over to domestic life — in Bin Laden’s case, whether he perhaps was an eerily ordinary parent, complaining about what was for dinner, nagging the kids about their homework....
The most vivid look the American public has had at Bin Laden’s family life is from a 2009 memoir by his son Omar bin Laden and Omar’s mother, Najwa bin Laden. They wrote 'Growing Up bin Laden' with the assistance of Jean Sasson, an American writer. The book includes what may be the most complete account available of the terrorist’s immediate family."" --Scott Shane, The New York Times, May 15, 2011
“Fascinating. . . . Together, Najwa and Omar provide an intimate account of a family life that became steadily more dangerous and bizarre. . . . From affluence and comfort in Jeddah they were reduced to penury and privation in Afghanistan, all the wives and their many children living without electricity, running water, or even real beds, in forced pursuit of Osama’s jihadist dreams.” —The Washington Post