Moving beyond journalistic accounts, Fawaz Gerges provides a clear and compelling account of the deeper conditions that fuel ISIS. The book describes how ISIS emerged in the chaos of Iraq following the 2003 US invasion, how the group was strengthened by the suppression of the Arab Spring and by the war in Syria, and how ISIS seized leadership of the jihadist movement from Al Qaeda.
Part of a militant Sunni revival, ISIS claims its goals are to resurrect a caliphate and rid "Islamic lands" of all Shia and other minorities. In contrast to Al Qaeda, ISIS initially focused on the "near enemy" - Shia, the Iraqi and Syrian regimes, and secular, pro-Western states in the Middle East. But in a tactical shift ISIS has now taken responsibility for spectacular attacks in Europe and other places beyond the Middle East, making it clear that the group is increasingly interested in targeting the "far enemy" as well. Ultimately, the book shows how decades of dictatorship, poverty, and rising sectarianism in the Middle East, exacerbated by foreign intervention, led to the rise of ISIS - and why addressing those problems is the only way to ensure its end.
An authoritative introduction to arguably the most important conflict in the world today, this is an essential book for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the social turmoil and political violence ravaging the Arab-Islamic world.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Kelsi Sluyter on 02-12-16
Great information and understanding
I had to "read" this book for a class and I am so glad that it was required. I was nervous at first because my professor commented on how difficult a read it was, but I disagree. I did actually read the first few chapters and then turned to audiobook later due to time constraints, so I can attest that it is both an interesting read and listen.
The author was a bit repetitive at times, but Gerges was extremely thorough. He dispelled myths about ISIS and replaced it with solid foundational facts and theories.
I now have a whole new understanding of not only the militant group, but also of dealings in the Middle East as a whole. I have recommended this book to everyone. I think it is an important read not only for our time, but also for our country.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By |||||| | ||| || |||||||||||| on 11-07-16
anyone wanting to understand the contemporary Near East would do well to read or listen
2 of 2 people found this review helpful