The Islamic State has stunned the world with its savagery, destructiveness, and military and recruiting successes. What explains the rise of ISIS, and what does it portend for the future of the Middle East? In this book, one of the world's leading authorities on political Islam and jihadism sheds new light on these questions as he provides a unique history of the rise and growth of ISIS.
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.
©2016 Fawaz A. Gerges. Published by Princeton University Press (P)2016 Recorded Books
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"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.
anyone wanting to understand the contemporary Near East would do well to read or listen
I watch the news and often find myself wondering why are some of us so disturbed. As far as the rise of Isis this book gives a categorical answer to why. The author also provides a viable yet protracted solution to the ongoing madness.
I felt that this book was all in compassing and very informative. I have and will continue to recommend it.
"Contemporary Affairs at its best"
this book provides a very authoritative comprehensible and current understanding of Isis and various competing actors in the Middle East now
"Dry but good information"
Okay, I will admit, I am not the most knowledgeable individual in the world which is exactly why I decided to read/listen to this book.
ISIS is a scary group that can keep you up at night if you think about it too much. With that said, this was an enlightening book that was filled with great information. I think that anyone who cannot tell the difference between muslims & ISIS should read this book. It will hopefully change your view.
This was probably one of the most dry books I have ever read. If it weren't for it being an audiobook I am sure that I would have put it down. I was bored through a lot of the book but I will say that it was interesting to learn the history of ISIS.
This is definitely dry, but it has a lot of good information.
great insight into the past present and possible future of isis. great contextualization of the sulafi jihadist movememt and isis' place within it
"Hoped to get a better understanding"
As someone who constantly see Isis make the headlines, but has no real knowledge on the matter, I hoped this book could fix the holes in my understanding. Perhaps a listener who already has a basis knowledge of who is who in Isis, and of the events in the Iraqi war, might appreciate it better. I did not find it a book for total beginners. I am not new to history audiobooks and podcasts, but found this not as enlightening as I hoped.
I will surely listen to more history audiobooks in the future, probably not on Isis though.
He held a very monotonous tone throughout the book which didn't enhance my interest in the text. A good narrator would keep the attention of the listeners all the time. Unfortunately I found Hayes' tone boring and therefore my attention dwindled. I had to rewind many times to keep tracks of what was said.
I was disappointed because I hoped to get a basic understanding of the chronology, causes, actions and events in Isis history, but found myself more than once confused by names and dates. I spent the first half of the book mixing up al-Zarqawi and al-Baghdadi. A clear timeline of the Iraqi war would have helped.
"Superb and detailed, very illuminating"
The attention to detail and scrupulous explanations.
Yes and no. I am 99% certain that "Bradley Hayes" is a pseudonym for Jonathan Davis (who has narrated hundreds of books). The cadence, tone, timing, and pronunciations are identical (especially given as how this book is similar in subject matter to books Davis narrated by Frances Fukuyama, Political Order and Political Decay, as well as The Origins of Political Order). That is to say, as always, he does a wonderful job, is measured and easy to follow, and adds gravity to the reading.
4.5 stars. A truly comprehensive primer on ISIS. This book places ISIS in historical perspective, explaining the roots of various Salafi interpretations of Islam and the groups that have been promoting them, the impact of colonial activities in the Middle East, the inter-relatedness of different extremist and terrorist groups, the unintended consequences of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the impetus and aftermath of the Arab Spring (including the destabilization of the power balance in that part of the world). The book also includes detailed analysis and explanation of the worldviews of key players in ISIS, ISIS's goals, how it interacts with local populations, and an evaluation of its long-term prospects, weaknesses, and lasting footprint on global affairs. Sobering and densely packed with information, an excellent place to start if trying to get a deeper understanding of ISIS and world events.
"Good stuff gets a little redundant here and there"
Very good information. The reader did a great job, listened to it at 2.0 speed because we revisited things several times... not saying bad just... seemed like stretching a bit.
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