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Growing Up bin Laden

Osama's Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World

Najwa bin Laden, Omar bin Laden, Jean Sasson

St. Martin's Press

The New York Times calls GROWING UP BIN LADEN: "The most complete account available of the terrorist’s immediate family." (May 15, 2011)

A true story that few ever believed would come to light, GROWING UP BIN LADEN uncovers startling revelations and hidden secrets carefully guarded by the most wanted terrorist of our lifetime, Osama bin Laden.

"I was not always the wife of Osama bin Laden. Once I was an innocent child dreaming little girl dreams…"

Thus begins this powerful story as Najwa bin Laden, who married her cousin Osama bin Laden at the age of 15 to become his first wife and the mother to eleven of his children, and her son, Omar bin Laden, the fourth-born son of Osama bin Laden. Together, mother and son tell an extraordinarily powerful story of a man hated by so many, yet both loved and feared by his family, with spine-tingling details about the life and times of the man they knew as a husband and father, including: Osama’s disapproval of modern conveniences, including electricity and medicine His plan to toughen up his sons by taking them into the desert without food or water Transporting his wives and children to the rough terrain of Sudan, where he claimed to be preparing them for attacks from western powers, commanding them to dig holes, and to sleep in those holes, allowing nothing more than sand and twigs for cover Omar’s horror at the rape and murder of a boy his own age, by members of a jihadist group living among them in the Sudan. What happened in the bin Laden home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on the morning of September 11, 2001, and Omar’s surprise phone call with his mother, who escaped from Afghanistan only two days before the shattering events that killed so many innocent people

Since September 11, 2001, journalists have struggled to uncover carefully guarded information about Osama’s private life. Until now, Osama Bin Laden’s family members have not cooperated with any writers or journalists. Now, with unprecedented access and insight, Jean Sasson, author of the bestselling Princess: A True Story Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, takes us inside the secret world of Osama bin Laden.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Chapter 1 My Youth najwa bin laden I was not always the wife of Osama bin Laden. Once I was an innocent child dreaming little girl dreams. These days my thoughts often drift back in time and I remember the little girl that I was and the safe and happy childhood I enjoyed.
Often I’ve heard adults speak of their childhood with regret and even anger, glad that they have escaped the younger years. Such talk is ba.  ing to me, for if I could, I would go back in time to the .rst part of my life and I would re­main a little girl forever.
My parents and siblings and I lived in a
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REVIEWS

Praise for Growing Up bin Laden

"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
"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

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Najwa bin Laden, Omar bin Laden, Jean Sasson

  • JEAN SASSON, a New York Times bestselling author, lived in the Middle East for 12 years and has traveled extensively in the area for 30 years. She lives in the Southern USA.

    NAJWA BIN LADEN, who married her cousin Osama bin Laden at the age of 15, is his first wife and the mother to seven of his sons and four of his daughters. She currently lives with three of her eleven children in the Middle East.

    OMAR BIN LADEN, the fourth son of Osama bin Laden, has publicly called for his father to "change his ways." Both Omar and his mother left Afghanistan before September 11, 2001, and neither has been in contact with Osama bin Laden since.

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Available Formats and Book Details

Growing Up bin Laden

Osama's Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World

Najwa bin Laden, Omar bin Laden, Jean Sasson

  • e-Book

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

St. Martin's Press

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