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The Cult of Osama: Psychoanalyzing Bin Laden and His Magnetism for Muslim Youths (Praeger Security International)
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"Olsson believes that delving into the mind of former US agent Osama and into the minds of anyone who supports his opposition to US hegemony, will help defeat terrorism. He also believes that Muslims and Arabs cheered the September 11th attacks. His insights include Osama's dark epiphany as prototype of Islamist leaders' pathological narcissism, and Osama and company's apocalyptic scenarios and rebellious group martyrdom in terror cults." - Scitech Book News
"Both scholar and psychoanalyst, with this in-depth study Dr. Olsson paints a picture, not only of what drives Osama Bin Laden, but also of what makes young people, both Muslim and non-Muslim, susceptible to his preaching. Dr. Olsson presents an approach to understanding terrorism that adds to our ability to fight this threat to our civilization." (Althea J. Horner, Ph.D., Scientific Associate, The American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry, Associate Editor, Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry.)
"It would be true enough to say that Peter Olsson has written a clinically astute and thoroughly researched book on Osama bin Laden and his zealous followers, but that would not go far enough. The Cult of Osama is in fact a gripping murder mystery on a global scale. Dr. Olsson's achievement is not only to demonstrate how Osama's life history set the stage for the unprecedented acts of terrorism on September 11, 2001, but also to demonstrate with equal authority the psychological fit between leader and followers, and further explore the process by which susceptible people are recruited and transformed into cult members. This is a work that synthesizes many fields of thought, and does so seamlessly, with a minimum of jargon." (Howard F. Stein, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center)
"This exploration of Osama and his followers is an absorbing and fascinating read. The author demonstrates how the application of psychoanalytic thinking to large group phenomena and to the dark recesses of Osama's mind illuminates a matter of great urgency at a time when understanding has become essential for the world to live in harmony. I highly recommend it." (Glen O. Gabbard, M.D., Brown Foundation Chair of Psychoanalysis and Professor of Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine)
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Top Customer Reviews
I have recently finished reading Dr. Peter Olsson's fascinating book, The Cult of Osama, and would like to enthusiastically recommend it. Dr. Olsson has provided us with a rare insight into the mind of the most controversial and, many would argue, the most evil man of our time. Dr. Olsson, who has written extensively on cults, delves into what makes Osama, Osama. Filled with anecdotal evidence, we get a rare glimpse into bin Laden early life, and how his family influenced his decisions. I believe the book's strength is that, while attempting to understand bid Laden, Dr. Olsson refuses to offer these experiences as some type of excuse for his actions. Understanding does not delute the evil of the man. I found the book to be well-presented, with the lay person, like myself, in mind. Though not in the medical field myself, Dr. Olsson presents his findings in a manner that I could follow with ease. This is a must read for everyone.
In the Cult of Osama, Dr. Olsson draws on his psychoanalytic training, his 25 or so years of theorizing on the dynamics of charismatic leaders, and applied psychoanalytic methods to develop a feasible understanding of a man who, arguably, is the greatest cult leader of our time. Poetry by bin Laden, an interview of bin Laden by Peter Berger, and interviews of violent fundamentalists by Jessica Stern contribute to Olsson's understanding of a man who will, in all probably, never submit to a formal psychoanalysis. Consistent with his first book, Dr. Olsson offers practical advice into thoughts and actions that might address the threat of religious and political extremism. Partricularly poignant are the e-mail exchanges he has with his psychiatrist pen pal in Baghdad. This book is a worthy addition to one's library on Islam, middle eastern politics and radical fundamentalism.
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