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Archive for the ‘ISIS’ Category

Here is tonight’s weekend nonfiction book review.

Robert F. Worth. A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS.  New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, April 18th 2017. 272 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This is an incredibly insightful book on the Arab Spring and the subsequent rise of extremism and tyranny as the uprising’s aftermath.  The author is a journalist who has spent considerable time in the Middle East both before, during and after the Arab Spring which contributed to the author’s experience and knowledge of things before and after the Arab Spring.  For those who are curious about the Middle East and want to understand more of the current events in that region this book should be on the top of one’s list.

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This was a well done documentary on the history of the rise of the Islamic State by PBS’ Frontline documentary.

Here’s the documentary on Youtube:

I’m more of a book guy so here are three books that I have found insightful into ISIS:

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Graeme Wood. The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State.  New York, NY: Random House, December 20th, 2016. 352 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This is a book that tries to give readers the look of what supporters of the Islamic State looks like written by a journalist for the publication called The Atlantic.  The author Graeme Wood interviews various Islamic State supporters and goes all around the world in his pursuit of interviews.  This book is the result of Wood’s investigative journalism.  Since there is not a lot of book out there that describes the people who support the Islamic State in their own words or their perspective (even though the book injects his critique and his thought) this makes this work all the more fascinating.

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Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan. ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.  New York, NY: Regan Arts, February 17th, 2015. 270 pp.

5 out of 5

This is the second book I have read on ISIS/Islamic State.  I have previously read Black Flag.  I appreciated this present work that details to the readers further insight into the Islamic State.  The two authors definitely has done their research and while the future will no doubt have more scholarly books analyzing ISIS with more information this book is quite helpful at the moment given how little book length treatment currently exists on ISIS.  I think this work would still be important even in the future among the collection of works that paved the way in terms of analyzing ISIS.  Both authors are journalists who among other things contribute to the periodical Foreign Policy.  Their background no doubt is helpful. The book essentially traces the history of how Al Qaeda in Iraq evolved into the Islamic state.  The main question that the book focuses on is how is an insurgency group that at one time was as a “junior varsity” among terrorist’s organization eventually became its own self-proclaimed state.

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Joby Warrick. Black Flags: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the Islamic State.  New York, NY: Doubleday, September 29th, 2015.  416 pp.

The author Joby Warrick is a journalist whose career includes covering the Middle East.  Previously I read the author’s first book titled The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA.  I enjoyed this present volume a lot more both in terms of the subject and writing style.  In Black Flags the author focuses on what was formerly known as Al Qaeda in Iraq and its founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and how the organization later evolved into the Islamic State.  The book was filled with a lot of facts that I didn’t know before but learned from here.  The work was so fascinating that I had a hard time putting down the book.  Given how I am reading this book on the eve of the Iraqi and Kurdish army’s invasion into the last stronghold of the Islamic State in Iraq in the city of Mosul, I found this very timely and eye opening.

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The Looming Tower Lawrence Wright

Lawrence Wright. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. New York, NY: Borzoi Book, August 8th 2006. 373 pp.

I knew I had to read this book after seeing many other books on counter-terrorism and radical Islam referenced this work.  There’s a reason why this book is cited often and mentioned in bibliographies: it is a well-researched book on the origins of Al Qaeda leading up to their attack on September 11th.  The author spent five years researching for the book which led the author to travel all over the world.

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