The book I read to research this post was Osama Bin Laden by Michael Scheuer which is an excellent book which I borrowed from the library. Scheuer was head of the CIA’s Bin Laden Unit so he ought to be quite knowledgeable about Osama & it does say in the book he tried to present a realistic picture in which I think he has been successful. Osama Bin Laden was named after Osama Bin Zaed a Muslim saint. His mother was a slave to his father until 1962 when Saudi Arabia abolished slavery & they married soon after. His father was extremely wealthy mainly from his construction company but when young had been extremely poor. He was a self made man. When Osama was very young his father died & he became very close to his mother. He was schooled mostly in Saudi Arabia & the schools were considered fairly moderate. In fact even when he went to Afghanistan to fight the Russians he was considered a moderate Muslim. It’s thought the Israeli 6 Day War & the trouble in Palestine did a lot to give him the more extreme views. The fact that the Afghan Muslims defeated Russia in Afghanistan & the Soviet economy almost collapsed made him think Muslims with God on their side were unbeatable. He wanted the whole world to become Muslim & use Shariah Law. According to this book the idea that Osama was just a figurehead of Al Quaeda was a load of rubbish. Also the idea that he was in poor health had no evidence to support it. Some people claimed that he visit a hospital for dialysis treatment & that a portable dialysis machine was taken to him again there’s no evidence to support that. When America invaded Afghanistan & he had to escape through the mountains to Pakistan, he knew them mountains better than anybody. Also he was very fit, he had been trained in a Muslim insurgents training camp which was similiar to the military. The aim of these camps was that you could fight anywhere be it the USA, Chechnya or Afghanistan.