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Book Review: The Audacious Ascetic by Flagg Miller

Hurst, £2251AqLntbMML._AC_UL320_SR206,320_

Flagg Miller has been there. As the book opens, he is in Yemen having a fraught conversation with the leader of an al-Qaeda front at a festival celebrating the end of Ramadan. At one point a disgruntled elder starts waving a Kalashnikov and is duly restrained. The scene is a fitting backdrop to this book, which examines the Osama bin Laden tapes: a selection of 1,500 cassette recordings acquired by US special forces from a house Bin Laden lived in for a time in Afghanistan.

They are…

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