Growing Up Bin Laden
Osama's Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World
Publication Date: November 2009
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Thus begins this powerful story by Najwa bin Laden, who married her cousin Osama bin Laden at the age of fifteen 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.
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.
Jean's first book THE RAPE OF KUWAIT, based on her eye witness reporting on the invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi troops, was an immediate bestseller. Shortly thereafter she became a full-time writer. Her next three books, PRINCESS, PRINCESS SULTANA'S DAUGHTERS, and PRINCESS SULTANA'S CIRCLE, became international sensations as they were the first books to bring to the western world the shocking stories about life for women in Saudi Arabia. Jean is also the author of MAYADA, DAUGHTER OF IRAQ, about the prison experiences of an Iraqi journalist praised by Saddam Hussein; LOVE IN A TORN LAND: The True Story of a Freedom Fighter's Escape from Iraqi Vengeance which tells the story of a beautiful Kurdish woman; GROWING UP BIN LADEN: Osama's Wife and Son Take Us into Their Secret World; and FOR THE LOVE OF A SON: One Afghan Woman's Quest for Her Stolen Child. Her work has been featured in People, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New York Post, The Sunday London Times, The Guardian, CNN, FOX, NBC, and many other news organizations. Still traveling the world, Jean has made her homebase in Atlanta, Georgia where she is a passionate animal rights and women's rights supporter.