From Publishers Weekly
Not many reporters have firsthand experience of terrorist camps, but Burke, chief reporter for London's Observer, achieved it during the 2001 war in Afghanistan. His nuanced investigation into Islamic extremist groups benefits as a result; his depth of knowledge is clear as he paints a complex portrait of al-Qaida and related groups. The outfit often called al-Qaida is, he says, actually a loose amalgam of groups that share a similar worldview: a belief in Islamic fundamentalism and antagonism toward the West. This is not new, but Burke writes clearly, and his descriptions of terror camps and religious schools-even a brief description of a bombing campaign in Afghanistan-make his work more lively and powerful than most of the recent books on the subject. Similarly, he shows that Osama bin Laden is less central to the enterprise than Western leaders think; the Islamist movement is longstanding and widespread: "This movement is growing. Osama bin Laden did not create it nor will his death or incarceration end it." As a result, he argues, the U.S. focus on bin Laden and al-Qaida is misguided and ultimately a waste of time-in fact, he says, it will only create more bin Ladens. Only a battle to "win the hearts and minds" of the Islamic world will effectively counteract the terrorist phenomenon. Unfortunately, Burke fails to address how this might be done, but he's made a strong argument that it is the road to take. Maps not seen by PW.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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"An accurate analysis...an informative book."-- Albert Smith, The Irish Independent
"A must-read...Burke's sophisticated view of Al-Qaeda is convincing. Burke's book is the one that will last. It's a triumph."--Giles Foden, The Guardian
"This book is an eye-opener... authoritative and detailed"--Hazhir Teimourian, The Literary Review
"This young, impassioned journalist has made an important contribution to the growing literature on al Qaeda."-Jeff Stein, Washington Post Book World
"He has given us an indispensable guide to the multidimensional reality of Al-Qaeda"-- John Gray, New Statesman
"...more lively and powerful than most of the recent books on the subject."--Publishers Weekly
"...Burke has taken the time to sort it out...compulsory reading for Rumsfeld and his clique."--Sam Kiley, The Evening Standard (UK)
"Fascinating...packed full with totally new material."--Gilles Kepel, author of Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam
"...a book which vastly increases our understanding of the Al-Qaeda phenomenon. Burke writes with admirable lucidity and the benefit of his frontline reporting and deep research."--Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc.
''Drawing on frontline experience, on secret documents, and on interviews with intelligence officers, militants, mujahideen commanders and bin Laden associates, the author reveals the story of al-militants, mujahidden commanders and bin Laden associates, the author reveals the story of al-Qaeda, and demolishes the myths that underpin the ‘war on terror’. He demonstrates the ‘al-Qaeda is merely a convenient label applied by the West to a far broader phenomenon of Islamic militancy, and shows how eradicating a single figure or group will do nothing to combat terrorism. Only by understanding the true complex nature of ‘al-Qaeda’, he argues, can we address the real issues surrounding our security today.’’-- Oxfam Development Resources Review
"He has given us an indispensable guide to the multidimensional reality of Al-Qaeda" (John Gray New Statesman
"Fascinating...packed full with totally new material." (Gilles Kepel Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam
"...a book which vastly increases our understanding of the Al-Qaeda phenomenon. Burke writes with admirable lucidity and the benefit of his frontline reporting and deep research." (Peter Bergen Holy War, Inc.