Holy War, Inc.
Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden
On September 11, 2001, the world in which we live was changed forever. The twin towers of the World Trade Center came crashing down, one side of the Pentagon burst into flame, and more than six thousand men, women, and children lost their lives in the most deadly terrorist attack on American soil. As shocking as it was, it had been long in the making: The assault was the most sophisticated and horrifying in a series of operations masterminded by Osama bin Laden and his Jihad group -- an organization that CNN's terrorism analyst Peter Bergen calls Holy War, Inc.
One of only a handful of Western journalists to have interviewed the world's most wanted man face to face, Peter Bergen has produced the definitive book on the Jihadist network that operates globally and in secrecy. In the course of four years of investigative reporting, he has interviewed scores of insiders -- from bin Laden associates and family members to Taliban leaders to CIA officials -- and traveled to Afghanistan, Yemen, Egypt, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom to learn the truth about bin Laden's al Queda organization and his mission.
Immense in scope and unnerving in its findings, Holy War, Inc. reveals:
- How bin Laden lives, travels, and communicates with his "cells."
- How his role in the crushing defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan made him a hero to Muslims all over the world -- and equipped him to endure a long and bloody siege.
- How the CIA ended up funding -- to the tune of three billion dollars -- radical, anti-American Afghan groups allied to bin Laden.
- How the attacks that foreshadowed the destruction of the World Trade Center -- among them the bombings of the American embassies in Africa and the warship USS Cole in Yemen -- were planned and executed.
- The dimensions of bin Laden's personal fortune, and why freezing his assets is both futile and nearly impossible.
- The ideology of bin Laden's number two, the man who has influenced him most profoundly in his holy war -- the Egyptian Ayman al Zawahiri.
- What we can expect from Islamist extremists in the future.
Above all, Peter Bergen helps us to see bin Laden's organization in a radically new light: as a veritable corporation that has exploited twenty-first-century communications and weapons technologies in the service of a medieval reading of the Koran and holy war. Holy War, Inc. is essential reading for anyone trying to understand tomorrow's terrorist threats and the militant Islamist movements that could determine the fate of governments -- and human lives -- the world over.
Both author and publisher will donate a portion of the proceeds from this book to United Way's September 11th Fund for the relief of victims of the World Trade Center attacks.
- Free Press, November 2001
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