Summary of The Killing of Osama Bin Laden

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The Killing of Osama Bin Laden book summary


8 Overall

6 Importance

9 Innovation

9 Style


Seymour Hersh is an investigative journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner and a muckraker. His articles in the London Review of Books between 2014 and 2016 called out Barack Obama’s administration on “American exceptionalism” and on a foreign policy in which the end justified the means. Hersh repudiates the US version of the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden. He investigates the US’s Syria policy, which demanded the ouster of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Hersh’s articles – collated here – inspire approbation, skepticism and insider disagreement. He relies on too few sources, though he captures the confusion that occurs when the US must choose between a savage dictator and even more savage Islamic extremists. While always politically neutral, getAbstract offers Hersh’s report with great interest and yet some cautions to readers to temper his passion and perhaps view some of his accusations with a grain of skeptical salt. Focus instead on the messages behind his reporting – particularly his insights into how much, and when, a government should be honest with its citizens.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Seymour Hersh describes the death of Osama bin Laden,
  • What shapes US relations with Pakistan and
  • Why President Barack Obama did not back up his “red-line threat” to attack Syria if it used chemical weapons.

About the Author

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh won a Pulitzer Prize for his exposé of a 1968 US army massacre of Vietnamese civilians in My Lai. He has won two National Magazine awards, five George Polk awards and the 2004 George Orwell Award.



“American Exceptionalism”
US President Barack Obama made policy decisions that mimicked those of his predecessor President George W. Bush, particularly his notion of American exceptionalism, and that undermined US foreign policy. Obama did not tell the full truth about the killing of Osama...

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