Home, Land, Security: Deradicalization and the Journey Back from Extremism

One World. Sept. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9780525510574. $28. POL SCI
In this latest work, journalist Power (If the Oceans Were Ink) explores the causes of right-wing extremism. First, she interviews mothers of terrorists to uncover the process by which their children became introduced to extremist views. Additionally, she converses with groups that help to rehabilitate extremists and local organizations and governments who work against terrorism; in these discussions, she shows these groups’ successes and failures. Power argues that an “us vs. them” mentality leads to alienation, which in turn causes susceptible people to become more prone to accepting extremist viewpoints. Successful anti-terror programs emphasize connections and community building, the author maintains. She is a scholar of Islamist extremism, which is the particular focus of this book, but she also makes broad connections to white supremacists and other right-wing terror groups in Europe and the United States. Additionally, she interrogates her own biases and assumptions throughout. This book ends with a warning about the dangers of isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is occurring at the same time as a rise in right-wing extremism throughout the world; it also offers advice on deradicalizing local communities.
VERDICT A compelling exploration of the factors that drive extremism; it emphasizes the need for human connection. Recommended for readers interested in politics or in affecting change in their communities.
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