The bin Ladens are famous for spawning the world's foremost terrorist and building one of the Middle East's foremost corporate dynasties. Pulitzer Prize–winner Coll (Ghost Wars) delivers a sprawling history of the multifaceted clan, paying special attention to its two most emblematic members. Patriarch Mohamed's eldest son, Salem, was a caricature of the self-indulgent plutocrat: a flamboyant jet-setter dependent on the Saudi monarchy, obsessed with all things motorized (he died crashing his plane after a day's joy-riding atop motorcycle and dune-buggy) and forever tormenting his entourage with off-key karaoke. Coll presents quite a contrast with an unusually nuanced profile of Salem's half-brother Osama, a shy, austere, devout man who nonetheless shares Salem's egomania. Other bin Ladens crowd Coll's narrative with the eye-glazing details of their murky business deals, messy divorces and ill-advised perfume lines and pop CDs. Beneath the clutter one discerns an engrossing portrait of a family torn between tradition and modernity, conformism and self-actualization, and desperately in search of its soul.
When an elite team of American special forces stormed a compound in Pakistan and killed the world's most wanted terror target it was the high point of Barack Obama's presidency. But as more and more information emerges, the doubts about the official account of Osama Bin Laden's death have been raised - to the point where veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has now alleged that the whole story was fabricated. For the BBC's award winning This World strand, Jane Corbin examines the evidence for this supposed conspiracy and uses a treasure trove of newly released documents to reconstruct Bin Laden's life in his secret compound.