Bin Laden’s Legacy

The Longest War
The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda
Peter L. Bergen
Free Press, $28, 473 pp.

Befitting its subject, The Longest War is a very long book, a comprehensive examination of the struggle that began slowly and surreptitiously in the early 1990s and continued—at least until Osama bin Laden’s killing on May 2. His death may not bring the demise of terrorism, but it has given President Barack Obama a justification for winding down the “war on terror” that President George W. Bush began in 2001.

Peter Bergen scrutinizes the events, people, arguments, rumors, and...

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About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.