The Terror Years: From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State

Knopf. Aug. 2016. 384p. index. ISBN 9780385352055. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385352079. POL SCI
Pulitzer Prize winner Wright (staff writer, The New Yorker; The Looming Tower), in this collection of riveting pieces first published in The New Yorker, traces the path of terror from al-Qaeda to the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). The book is based on the author's astute observations on many facets of the terror network in the Arab Middle East. Wright describes how al-Qaeda's philosophy spread and morphed into the ideology and practices of ISIS today. In the chapter "The Kingdom of Silence," the author provides a fascinating account of Saudi society and government. This is important because the Saudi regime and its myriad formal and informal institutions have been the incubator and propagator of an ideology that has sustained many of the current terrorist movements in the Middle East. The American angle is covered through the profiles of two FBI agents and a CIA station chief. The work concludes with a description of the capture and beheadings of four American journalists and aid workers by ISIS.
VERDICT This informative book will appeal to all readers interested in the genesis and development of terrorist movements. [See Prepub Alert, 2/29/16.]
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