While events since the death of bin Laden have complicated the picture, this book serves as a useful starting point for...

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THE EVOLUTION OF THE GLOBAL TERRORIST THREAT

FROM 9/11 TO OSAMA BIN LADEN'S DEATH

The world’s leading scholars of terrorism investigate the organizational structures and operational links of Islamist terrorist movements around the globe.

The jihadist ecosystem since 9/11, write Hoffman (Security Studies/Georgetown Univ.; Inside Terrorism, 1998) and Reinares (Political Science and Security Studies/Universidad Rey Juan Carlos), has been a “a dynamically heterogeneous collection of both radicalized individuals and functioning terrorist organizations…but the al-Qaeda senior leadership nonetheless appeared to have had a direct hand in the most important and potentially high-payoff operations.” With contributions from 25 researchers, this richly annotated, scholarly compilation analyzes two dozen attacks and attempts in the West and the Muslim world, from highly successful bombings to plots derailed before they posed a major threat. In Europe, write Peter R. Neumann and Ryan Evans, there is “a milieu in which ostensibly nonviolent groups…provided entry points into organized jihadist structures…even if [al-Qaida’s] leadership played no active role in facilitating such links.” Meanwhile, in Australia, writes Sally Neighbour, “an independent cohort of Australian citizens, most of them locally born and raised, had formed a group of their own and conspired to launch an attack on Australian soil.” Even before the rise of ISIS, the situation in Iraq was most fluid and concerning; the local al-Qaida affiliate had a history of feuding with headquarters in Pakistan and was seen as “an ideologically incoherent and…operationally decentralized movement that is capable of plotting terrorist attacks but seems incapable of exerting significant command and control,” according to Mohammed M. Hafez. Throughout, the contributors stress the importance of identifying and eliminating al-Qaida’s “middle managers,” who motivate and finance otherwise isolated cells, and argue that when these vital connections are cut, the far-flung groups descend into confusion and infighting.

While events since the death of bin Laden have complicated the picture, this book serves as a useful starting point for readers who wish to understand how to unravel and defuse terrorist threats.

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0231168984

Page Count: 704

Publisher: Columbia Univ.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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

NIGHT

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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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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WHY WE'RE POLARIZED

A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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