Cover image for Holy war, Inc. : inside the secret world of Osama bin Laden
Holy war, Inc. : inside the secret world of Osama bin Laden
Bergen, Peter L., 1962-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Free Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
ix, 283 pages : 1 map ; 25 cm
How to find the world's most wanted man -- While America slept -- The Afghan Jihad: the making of a holy warrior -- Blowback: the CIA and the Afghan War -- The Koran and the Kalashnikov: Bin Laden's years in Sudan -- From the peaks of the Hindu Kush: the declaration of war -- Investigation and retaliation: the embassy bombings -- The American connection: from Brooklyn to Seattle -- True believers: the Taliban and Bin Laden -- The holy warriors of Yemen: the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole -- The global network: around the world in eighty Jihads -- Afterword.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6430.B55 B47 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HV6430.B55 B47 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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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. Immense in scope and unnerving in its findings, "Holy War, Inc." reveals the terrifying world of the new Jihad. Maps.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Books rushed out in the wake of historical calamities tend to be a patchwork of sloppy research and poor writing. But Bergen, who spent 10 years reporting on the Islamic world as a producer for CNN, has written a penetrating examination of al-Qaeda, which he compares to a multinational corporation with Osama bin Laden as its CEO. One of the few Westerners to have met bin Laden, Bergen understands radical Islamist movements and their tangled histories. There is extensive reporting here of previous al-Qaeda plots, from the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole last year to bin Laden's possible role in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Bergen discusses the September 11 attacks at length, but what makes this an important book is his history of al-Qaeda, a story most people haven't read in newspapers or magazines. Equal parts harrowing travelogue and social history, this is likely to be the best book on Islamist terror for some time to come. Although it may be impossible to fully understand bin Laden, Bergen does an admirable job of portraying him as a person, not just the face of terrorism. Readers will come away from this book understanding why bin Laden has been successful and how difficult it will be to dismantle his organization of terror. --John Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama Bin Laden by Peter L. Bergen. CNN journalist Bergen examines the activities and mission of the terrorist leader suspected of the September 11 attacks. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

As CNN terrorism analyst Bergen avows, this journalistic study of Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist network was rushed to publication and thus lacks some editorial smoothness in its delivery. Nevertheless, this book offers a mature, balanced description of bin Laden's background; a concise summary of the organization of the al-Qaeda terrorist network as it has developed in the Middle East, Europe, and America; and a brief narrative of terrorist events through September 11. Bergen asserts that bin Laden's hostility emanates from his religious opposition to an American military presence in Saudi Arabia, American policy toward Israel, and the "un-Islamic" behavior of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Bergen personalizes his story with an account of his 1997 interview with bin Laden and the contacts he made with bin Laden's militant Islamic associates. Here, an interesting story drifts a bit from bin Laden to accounts of al-Qaeda operations. Bergen has, however, pulled together a significant amount of solid information, which he presents with perception and without grand swings of passion. This is an important initial glimpse of bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the associated Taliban of Afghanistan and is strongly recommended for all libraries. John F. Riddick, Central Michigan Univ. Lib., Mt. Pleasant (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Bergen, a longtime television journalist, provides an easy-to-read, scholarly account of Osama bin Laden and his political movement. Bergen begins with the colorful tale of his 1997 CNN interview with bin Laden and then goes on to describe bin Laden's evolution from the Afghan war against the Soviets through his time in Sudan to the bombing of US embassies in East Africa and the USS Cole in Yemen. He focuses on how bin Laden and his followers combine modern technology and an extremist reading of the holy war concept in what Bergen calls "Holy War, Inc." Considerable information is also provided about the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Bergen provides extensive footnotes, showing he made heavy use of primary sources, such as trial transcripts and manifestos by bin Laden, as well as interviews. He is careful about his analytic judgments. For instance, he provides a nuanced analysis of how the CIA's support for the Afghan anti-Soviet resistance went to the most radical Islamist factions but not to bin Laden directly. All in all, Bergen provides the most definitive account to date of the bin Laden movement. Highly recommended at all levels. P. Clawson Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Table of Contents

Note from the Author
How to Find the World's Most Wanted Man
Chapter 1 While America Slept
Chapter 2 The Afghan Jihad: The Making of a Holy Warrior
Chapter 3 Blowback: The CIA and the Afghan War
Chapter 4 The Koran and the Kalashnikov: Bin Laden's Years in Sudan
Chapter 5 From the Peaks of the Hindu Kush: The Declaration of War
Chapter 6 Investigation and Retaliation: The Embassy Bombings
Chapter 7 The American Connection: From Brooklyn to Seattle
Chapter 8 True Believers: The Taliban and Bin Laden
Chapter 9 The Holy Warriors of Yemen: The Bombing of the U.S.S. Cole
Chapter 10 The Global Network: Around the World in Eighty Jihads