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Publisher's Summary

The Islamic State has stunned the world with its savagery, destructiveness, and military and recruiting successes. What explains the rise of ISIS, and what does it portend for the future of the Middle East? In this book, one of the world's leading authorities on political Islam and jihadism sheds new light on these questions as he provides a unique history of the rise and growth of ISIS.

Moving beyond journalistic accounts, Fawaz Gerges provides a clear and compelling account of the deeper conditions that fuel ISIS. The book describes how ISIS emerged in the chaos of Iraq following the 2003 US invasion, how the group was strengthened by the suppression of the Arab Spring and by the war in Syria, and how ISIS seized leadership of the jihadist movement from Al Qaeda.

Part of a militant Sunni revival, ISIS claims its goals are to resurrect a caliphate and rid "Islamic lands" of all Shia and other minorities. In contrast to Al Qaeda, ISIS initially focused on the "near enemy" - Shia, the Iraqi and Syrian regimes, and secular, pro-Western states in the Middle East. But in a tactical shift ISIS has now taken responsibility for spectacular attacks in Europe and other places beyond the Middle East, making it clear that the group is increasingly interested in targeting the "far enemy" as well. Ultimately, the book shows how decades of dictatorship, poverty, and rising sectarianism in the Middle East, exacerbated by foreign intervention, led to the rise of ISIS - and why addressing those problems is the only way to ensure its end.

An authoritative introduction to arguably the most important conflict in the world today, this is an essential book for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the social turmoil and political violence ravaging the Arab-Islamic world.

©2016 Fawaz A. Gerges. Published by Princeton University Press (P)2016 Recorded Books

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Great information and understanding

I had to "read" this book for a class and I am so glad that it was required. I was nervous at first because my professor commented on how difficult a read it was, but I disagree. I did actually read the first few chapters and then turned to audiobook later due to time constraints, so I can attest that it is both an interesting read and listen.

The author was a bit repetitive at times, but Gerges was extremely thorough. He dispelled myths about ISIS and replaced it with solid foundational facts and theories.
I now have a whole new understanding of not only the militant group, but also of dealings in the Middle East as a whole. I have recommended this book to everyone. I think it is an important read not only for our time, but also for our country.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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important

anyone wanting to understand the contemporary Near East would do well to read or listen

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great audibook.

I watch the news and often find myself wondering why are some of us so disturbed. As far as the rise of Isis this book gives a categorical answer to why. The author also provides a viable yet protracted solution to the ongoing madness.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Information overload

I felt that this book was all in compassing and very informative. I have and will continue to recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Contemporary Affairs at its best

this book provides a very authoritative comprehensible and current understanding of Isis and various competing actors in the Middle East now

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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the best analysis, by far

Essential for any student or analyst eager to truly understand what ISIS is. One can read or listen so-called specialists expressing themselves on this terrorist group. In French or in English, too often it is clear they don't know what they are talking about. Newspapers and tv channels should limit themselves to true professionals like Fawaz Gerges.

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Complexity of a terrorist organization explained

This work explains what ISIS is and how it came into being. The author is very detailed on this analysis and parts of the work are academic in wording and analysis. Overall it is an excellent explanation of the turmoil and reasons for the bloody conflicts involving the radial Muslim ideologies which created ISIS.

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Dry but good information

Okay, I will admit, I am not the most knowledgeable individual in the world which is exactly why I decided to read/listen to this book.

ISIS is a scary group that can keep you up at night if you think about it too much. With that said, this was an enlightening book that was filled with great information. I think that anyone who cannot tell the difference between muslims & ISIS should read this book. It will hopefully change your view.

This was probably one of the most dry books I have ever read. If it weren't for it being an audiobook I am sure that I would have put it down. I was bored through a lot of the book but I will say that it was interesting to learn the history of ISIS.

This is definitely dry, but it has a lot of good information.

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very interesting

great insight into the past present and possible future of isis. great contextualization of the sulafi jihadist movememt and isis' place within it

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Hoped to get a better understanding

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

As someone who constantly see Isis make the headlines, but has no real knowledge on the matter, I hoped this book could fix the holes in my understanding. Perhaps a listener who already has a basis knowledge of who is who in Isis, and of the events in the Iraqi war, might appreciate it better. I did not find it a book for total beginners. I am not new to history audiobooks and podcasts, but found this not as enlightening as I hoped.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I will surely listen to more history audiobooks in the future, probably not on Isis though.

What aspect of Bradley Hayes’s performance would you have changed?

He held a very monotonous tone throughout the book which didn't enhance my interest in the text. A good narrator would keep the attention of the listeners all the time. Unfortunately I found Hayes' tone boring and therefore my attention dwindled. I had to rewind many times to keep tracks of what was said.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was disappointed because I hoped to get a basic understanding of the chronology, causes, actions and events in Isis history, but found myself more than once confused by names and dates. I spent the first half of the book mixing up al-Zarqawi and al-Baghdadi. A clear timeline of the Iraqi war would have helped.