On Saturday I attended a book launch at Strathclyde University, as part of the conference A Decade of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Since 9/11: Taking Stock and New Directions in Research and Policy.
It was in many ways a typical book launch - lots of polite talk, red and white wine and two authors - Bob Lambert and Christine Hellmich - there to push their new books on terrorism. Sadly a third author - Syed Saleem Shahzad, was not present. His new book Inside Al Qaeda: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 has been published in the UK posthumously by Pluto. Shahzad was kidnapped, tortured and killed in May. Reports both within and outside of Pakistan have blamed the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI for his murder, in anger at damaging stories he had published. According to the Pluto staff member at the book launch, Shahzad worked tirelessly to develop his own sources within both Al Qaeda and the Taliban, travelling in the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan to both speak and listen to people. He also left a huge impression on Pluto staff he met in London, whilst completeling the arrangements for the book to be published here.
There has been a veritable flood of books on 9/11, Al Qaeda and Bin Laden in recent months, with no doubt more to follow. It is not possible to buy them all, but if you buy one of them, I do urge you to buy Syed Saleem Shahzad's.