Bruce Lawrence's Messages to the World, Verso's book of the statements of Osama bin Laden, was due to be in the shops today. But for reasons "unknown" the title has been held up by the Port Health Authority for 2 weeks. Reason to be paranoid? Certainly, Verso seem to think so saying in a Press Release: "Is there a fear that the book is too ‘infectious’ for the British people? The publication of this scholarly collection raises issues about the government’s Terrorism Bill: can it be regarded as ‘the distribution of propaganda’ or ‘the glorifying of terrorism’?"
Peter Preston, reviewing the title in the Observer last weekend said:
Here, with a shrewd, scholarly introduction from Bruce Lawrence, is the complete bin Laden reader, from his early days when the House of Saud was enemy number one to his final advice to George Bush, John Kerry and America's voters on the right way to win an election. It is full of brusque, slightly surprising judgments: 'Saddam Hussein is a thief and an apostate.' It can sometimes turn a neat, almost humorous phrase. Bush has declared, a 'Crusade attack' and the odd thing about this is that he has 'taken the words right out of our mouth'. Most strikingly, it deals in facts and assertions that can't easily be brushed aside.