I was handed The Bin Ladens by Steve Coll last month and this past weekend I finished reading the 600 page education on the Bin Laden Family in its role accommodating the Al Saud's modernization of the Arabian Peninsula and the end result of those efforts. Last year I read Coll's Pulitzer Prize Winning Ghost Wars which takes the reader from the fall of 1979 when the modern Islamic Revolution started all the way to the assignation of Ahmad Shah Massoud on September 9, 2001.
The Bin Ladens began about the time of the turn of the twentieth century with a story about the death of an ox that was being borrowed by Awadh Aboud Bin Laden, the patriarch of the modern Bin Laden family. From there Coll took me to Yemen where two of Awadh's sons, Mohammed and Abdullah grew up extremely poor. After leaving Yemen as young teenagers the two brothers drifted between Africa and Saudi Arabia for years working for a pittance doing odd jobs in the merchant culture.
Fate. The Bin Laden Brothers' path finally changed the direction of their lives when they met the King and were given the chance to do a contract job for the Al Saud recently rich with overflowing constant profits from their oil sales to America and the rest of the 'free' world. Success and wealth fell upon them very quickly as they built the largest family owned construction company in the Kingdom. No longer a pauper, Mohammed started raising a family of his own which over the years grew to 54 children of which one in the middle was Osama.
Coll's detailed account of the lives of the Bin Ladens and their roles in American Politics, Real estate development, investment business and tragedy paints a crystal clear picture of our now, this magical instant before us. Once again Coll has given me an education that is simple to receive by taking the time to read the words and see the story. I highly recommend that every American living the dream should take the time to read both Ghost Wars and The Bin Ladens. This entire globe is completely connected and we all have a responsibility to learn as much about our share in that connection as possible.