The State of Terror

Book - 2015
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Baker & Taylor
Though terrorist groups are a fixture of contemporary politics and warfare, the world has never witnessed the degree of sheer brutality demonstrated by the group known as ISIS-- the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Its sadistic disregard for human life, sophisticated use of social media, acquisition of territory, and ability to attract foreign fighters is unprecedented. Stern and Berger analyze the tools ISIS uses both to frighten innocent citizens and lure new soldiers, and offer practical ideas on potential government responses.


The Islamic State, known as ISIS, exploded into the public eye in 2014 with startling speed and shocking brutality. It has captured the imagination of the global jihadist movement, attracting recruits in unprecedented numbers and wreaking bloody destruction with a sadistic glee that has alienated even the hardcore terrorists of its parent organization, al Qaeda.

Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger, two of America’s leading experts on terrorism, dissect the new model for violent extremism that ISIS has leveraged into an empire of death in Iraq and Syria, and an international network that is rapidly expanding in the Middle East, North Africa and around the world.

ISIS: The State of Terror traces the ideological innovations that the group deploys to recruit unprecedented numbers of Westerners, the composition of its infamous snuff videos, and the technological tools it exploits on social media to broadcast its atrocities, and its recruiting pitch to the world, including its success at attracting thousands of Western adherents. The authors examine ISIS’s predatory abuse of women and children and its use of horror to manipulate world leaders and its own adherents as it builds its twisted society. The authors offer a much-needed perspective on how world leaders should prioritize and respond to ISIS’s deliberate and insidious provocations. 

& Taylor

A terrorism expert from Harvard and the author of Jihad Joe explore the origins, growth and implication of the Islamic State jihadist army while surveying its methods and unexpectedly sophisticated social media expertise. 75,000 first printing.
"Two of America's leading experts on violent extremism and terrorism explain the genesis, evolution, and implications of today's most barbaric jihadist army, Islamic State--and how we can fight it"--
Explores the origins, growth, and implication of the Islamic State jihadist army while surveying its methods and unexpectedly sophisticated social media expertise.

Publisher: New York : Ecco, c2015
ISBN: 9780062395542
Branch Call Number: 363.325 STE
Characteristics: xxii, 385 p. ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Berger, J. M. (John M.), 1967-


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Feb 21, 2017

Well annotated look at the origins of ISIS and their conflict with Al Qaeda in their attempt to promote their Salafist views. The book takes a look at their ultra violence as well as their social media promotions. The book was completed near the end of 2014 so it is current to that date. Worth reading if you are interested.

Nov 24, 2015

With the recent atrocities in Paris, I was eager to learn more about this group of barbaric terrorists known as the Islamic State (i.e. ISIL, ISIS). In regards to its origins, the book excels at outlining ISIS's early history as AQI under the leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and how it later overran al Qaeda and its affiliates in Iraq and Syria. Another strong chapter in this book deals with the group's success at creating streaming HD videos that combine tight edits with gruesome violence, appealing to would-be jihadists across the globe. And along with video production is their success at distribution through social media, most notably Twitter. However, this book fell short by never discussing America's role in supporting ISIS in their attempts along with Israel at destabilizing the Assad regime in Syria during 2012-13. But given the resume of these two authors - Harvard and the Brookings Institution - i.e. the gatekeepers for interventionist neoconservative/neoliberal foreign policy, it wasn't any real shocker.

May 26, 2015

A timely book on one of the major threats to global security. Jessica Stern, a lecturer at Harvard, and J.M. Berger, a fellow at the Brookings Institute, detail the rise and spread of the self-declared Islamic State, its ties to and conflicts with other major terrorist organizations (Al-Qaeda, Taliban), and its use of methods both old-fashioned (beheadings) and new (Twitter and social media). For those interested in this group (and every thinking American should be), this is a revealing and relevant look at ISIS, providing context, insight, and ways to combat their extremism. Also see another recent book, "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror" and "Dirty Wars," about the global war on terror.

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