GROWING UP BIN LADEN

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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.

Every word you will read is true, dispelling the many myths about Osama bin Laden that are currently circulating. Only a few of the common myths dispelled in this book are:

Myth: Osama ordered Najwa to be sent to him to Saudi Arabia, to make her his bride against her objections.
Fact: Osama and Najwa knew the other from Najwa's birth. Their relationship was one of family friendship that developed into love. In fact, Najwa married Osama over her mother's protests.

Myth: Osama nor Najwa has ever traveled to the United States.
Fact: Osama traveled with Najwa and their two oldest sons to Indiana.

Myth: Osama bin Laden is left handed.
Fact: Osama bin Laden is right handed, giving the impression of being left-handed only because of a childhood accident that rendered his right eye nearly blind.

Myth: Osama bin Laden has been seriously ill with kidney disease for many years, creating a need to transport a dialysis machine with him, wherever he goes.
Fact: Osama bin Laden's health was good, suffering only from kidney stones and recurrences of malaria he contracted when fighting in Afghanistan against the Russians.

Myth: Mullah Mohammed Omar, the head of the Taliban, welcomed Osama to Afghanistan in 1996, after the Sudanese officials expelled him.
Fact: Mullah Omar did not invite Osama. In fact, Osama was wary of the actions Mullah Omar might take once he discovered Osama was operating on Afghan territory. The two men did not even meet for several years after Osama arrived, and their relationship was never easy. Mullah Omar was actually rude to Osama, and wanted him to leave Afghanistan after the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of the American African Embassies.

Many other revelations are revealed in this book. Since September 11, 2001, journalists have struggled to uncover private information about Osama's private life, and his wives and children. All have failed. But this book discloses the names and background of all Osama's wives, and the names and ages of his children.

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.

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