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



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...


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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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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