An authoritative book that captures a critical moment in the war against IS and underscores the group’s ruthlessness.



Middle East security expert Katz offers a revealing account of how Jordan, the United States, and global allies engaged in covert acts of vengeance to eliminate top leaders of the Islamic State group.

In 2014, a young Jordanian Air Force pilot was captured and burned to death by terrorists after his fighter aircraft crashed near Raqqa, Syria, during a combat sortie aimed at destroying an arsenal and other targets. In the carefully staged and filmed execution, the airman was caged, covered with gasoline, and set afire. Terrorists hoped the “horrifying” death, later broadcast widely, would rally Muslims to their cause. Instead, writes Katz, it prompted retribution that lit “the fuse of the Islamic State’s destruction.” In this absorbing narrative, the author uses the story of the pilot and the subsequent killing of top IS leaders responsible for his capture and murder (including the war minister and the social media guru) as a way to explore the inner workings of the international anti-terror alliance, especially the close military intelligence ties between the CIA and Jordan, deemed a “buffer that helped an unstable region maintain periods of peace and status quo.” Against the background of the terrorist organization, which “caught everyone by surprise,” Katz details the fall of oil-rich Mosul; the complex relationships within the multinational anti-terror coalition, with its many air forces held together by electronic communication; and the coalition’s combat sorties against terrorist targets in Iraq and Syria. The author draws on interviews with soldiers and intelligence officials to recount decision-making inside the CIA “espionage hub” at Amman Station, Jordan’s top-flight anti-terrorist agency the General Intelligence Directorate, and the ruling council of IS, whose massive media operation (“likened to CNN and Britain’s BBC”) worked ceaselessly to win Muslim allies and recruit “middle-class jobless college-educated sons in the kingdom.”

An authoritative book that captures a critical moment in the war against IS and underscores the group’s ruthlessness.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-335-01383-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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

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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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