Fred Halliday is ICREA Research Professor at the Barcelona Institute for International Studies. His books Language and Politics in the Middle East and Britain’s First Muslims will be published in the uk later this year.

(March 2009)

IN THE REVIEW

One Big Unhappy Family

The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century

by Steve Coll
About a decade ago I had a curious visitor to my office at the London School of Economics. An American in his mid-fifties, he explained that he had been a student in the 1960s and had come by to see who was in the office of a former professor. I asked him what he was now doing. “I am the American ambassador to Saudi Arabia,” he replied.