Osama is the most famous of the bin Ladens, but he’s also the clan's black sheep. In his new book, The bin Ladens, Steve Coll explores the sprawling family, which is so different from its most famous scion that Osama’s war takes on a Freudian dimension. The book "possesses the novelistic energy of a rags-to-riches family epic," Michiko Kakutani raves in today's Times.
Osama’s father was a self-made millionaire, building a decidedly Western-friendly transnational corporation from the ground up. Coll uses his story to illuminate the transformative effect of oil wealth on Saudi Arabia and US-Saudi relations. There are “millions” of bin Ladens, one FBI analyst explains, and “99.999999 percent of them are of the non-evil variety.”