Work Title: Al Qaeda in Its Own Words
Work Author(s): Gilles Kepel and Jean-Pierre Milelli, editors
368 pages, Hardcover $27.95
Reviewer: Henry L. Carrigan
After September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda and one of its leaders, Osama bin Laden, became household words. News organizations monitored the organization's every move, and the media broadcast almost daily the messages that various political groups had reportedly received from Al Qaeda. With the same brush, the media often painted Al Qaeda as a terrorist group intent on fomenting death and destruction. Through all of these events, Al Qaeda rarely had a chance to speak for itself or to let its own words be heard.
Thanks to the monumental efforts of Keppel, a professor at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris, and Milelli, his colleague at the Institute, anyone interested in Islam and in the history of Al Qaeda now has an opportunity to hear its leaders speak plainly and in detail. Drawing on numerous online sources, the editors have collected excerpts from the writings of four leaders of Al Qaeda: Osama Bin Laden, the "iconic orator"; Abdallah Azzam, the "Imam of Jihad"; Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the "veteran of Jihad"; and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, "Jihad in Mesopotamia." Each section is devoted to one of the leaders and contains a short introduction to the leader's life and work.
Although much of the background information about these leaders may be widely known, their...