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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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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