"Given the hysteria and half-truths surrounding bin Laden, Bergen steers a sensible course, sorting through competing stories....He also helps elucidate what so many Muslims find attractive about bin Laden...For readers who feel they are swimming in daily newspaper articles and television reports and want a single source that brings all the background together, this readable book works well. But since many other fine journalists are now going over the same ground and offering ever more complete versions of what was known in August, for those really interested in Al Qaeda, this is more of a place to start than end. The book contains one significant failing, in my view, and that is Bergen's analysis of why bin Laden is at war with the United States. Bergen takes issue with Samuel Huntington's widely cited thesis that there is a clash of civilizations between the West and Islam. He says bin Laden has a clear and specific political agenda--changing American policy in the Middle East. He opposes the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia, the bombing of Iraq, support for Israel and for regimes, like those in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, that he considers apostates from Islam. Bin Laden has never, Bergen notes, railed against Coca-Cola or Madonna or homosexuals. But this seems a cramped, literal parsing of bin Laden's few public statements and, in the end, simplistic and unsatisfying. Bergen, Peter L. is the author of 'Holy War, Inc. Inside the Secret World of Osama Bin Laden' with ISBN 9780743205023 and ISBN 0743205022.