A sage assessment showing how IS world domination could never come to pass because it has alienated too many Muslims...




A clinical dissection of the Islamic State group’s blueprint for waging jihad and establishing a caliphate.

Fishman, a counterterrorism research fellow with the International Security Program at New America, analyzes the ideological motivation of the progenitors of IS, namely that of Jordanian “thug” Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was first financed by al-Qaida to run a training and recruiting camp in Afghanistan, alongside the Taliban. With the United States invasion of Iraq, al-Zarqawi learned from the Kurdish jihadi community (Ansar al-Islam) much about violent governance and digital tools that he would later use in making IS a global phenomenon. By 2004, al-Zarqawi and al-Qaida had created a joint vision that took the form of a seven-stage “master plan” calling for the establishment of a caliphate by 2014—exactly as it happened. Fishman divides the book into these seven stages, supposedly culminating in the rallying of 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide “under a single banner to overthrow remaining apostate Muslim regimes and destroy Israel.” The other operational blueprint that delineated this murderous vision was the widely accessible manual The Management of Savagery (2004). Fishman pursues al-Zarqawi’s masterminding of terrorist attacks in Iraq, including the explosion at the Shia holy city of Najaf in 2003, an act aimed at polarizing relations between the Shiites and the Sunnis. Important tenets of what Fishman calls Zarqawiism are the dispensability of apostates (actually, the vast majority of the world’s Muslims) and the populist notion that the highest form of religious devotion is being an active warrior. The author notes how the Iraqi jihadi movement was greatly enhanced by disenfranchised Baathist policemen and by Bashar al-Assad’s release of political prisoners. The bedfellows the jihadi movement has engendered are strange indeed, and Fishman wonders, “just who would benefit most from the Islamic State’s defeat?”

A sage assessment showing how IS world domination could never come to pass because it has alienated too many Muslims worldwide.

Pub Date: Nov. 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-300-22149-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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