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An End to al-Qaeda: Destroying Bin Laden's Jihad and Restoring America's Honor Hardcover – February 16, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Intelligence veteran Nance offers a problematic prescription for defeating al-Qaeda in this disappointing polemic. Arguing that bin Laden's objective is the destruction of traditional Islam and the real ideological conflict... is about control of Islam itself, the author contends that if we break [al-Qaeda's] spiritual link to the Muslim community, they will be quickly defeated. Moreover, victory can be achieved not only quickly but also simply and inexpensively by employing simple counter-ideological tools of compassion and debate. Such an approach requires that the U.S. reframe ourselves as Well-Meaning Ones Who Want to Help and reframe al-Qaeda as an exceptionally dangerous armed militant cult. Toward this end, the author recommends that the U.S. employ the national bullhorn, appoint a new czar of counterideological warfare, and organize conferences. Noting President Obama's ability to make people believe his words, Nance calls the president [t]he best tool in our quiver. If the author's conclusions are controversial, the underlying material is mostly derivative, the format approximates PowerPoint, and the style alternates among melodramatic (raindrops of chaos), preachy ([t]he Muslim dream is the American dream), and pedantic. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

MALCOLM NANCE is a counterter­rorism intelligence consultant for the U.S. government’s special operations, homeland security, and intelligence agencies. He is a renowned expert of al-Qaeda strategy and tactic and a combat veteran with twenty-eight years’ operational experience in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia. An author of several books on counter­terrorism and counterinsurgency and a blog­ger at, he is director of the International Anti-terrorism Center for Excellence.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (February 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312592493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312592493
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,567,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Rather, it is just good old common sense that finds expression in this book.
Dr. Who, What, Where?
Since this is the first "book" I have "read" on audio disk, I will say something about the medium as well as the book.
S. R. Schnur
The content is very detailed....I think......but in many cases redundent and repetitive.
Wayne Crenwelge

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Octavia-Sorbonne 4 on February 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Who writes those editorial reviews at PW?? They are hogwash!

An End to Al Qaeda is a superb book for all those who want an alternative strategy to never ending military operations. It comes from a surprising advocate. There is no arguing that Malcolm Nance is a career field intelligence officer who encourages destroying Al Qaeda ideologically by winning on "the battlefield of the mind and soul." He is strong in his convictions on that point and his preachiness is just what is needed.

The book proposes a strategy of focusing both western and Moslem soft and hard power on counter-ideology operations (he calls the campaign by the name "CIRCUIT BREAKER") versus military power only. It is a change in counterterrorism thinking that should be applauded. In fact, it is really a timely idea. The attempted Detroit Christmas bombing brought the author's call for wide waging "counter-ideological warfare" from the shadows and directly into articles in the New York Times and Time magazine. Thomas Friedman wrote about it as well, but in an off hand way.

The most controversial aspect of the book is the author's contention that Al Qaeda attacks the West to find recruits to fight a civil war against traditional Islam. He stands in good company as the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA believe the same. Many authors, journalists and experts have referred to Al Qaeda as cult but few have shown that this phenomenon has occurred three times before in Islam. The author connects the dots well and reveals the key philosophers and ideologues who lead bin Laden to create his hypnotic doctrine. The global organizational doctrine that makes its recruits so irreconcilable as to require their physical destruction or incarceration is presented clearly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William H. Folk II on August 4, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I give the book 3 stars -- 4.5 related to the facts of the book and 1.5 for exposing his bias on the subject.
Let me start by stating that the author knows his stuff. He provides clear concise explanations of what al-Qaeda's operations are doing and how these actions are impacting the region.
There were numerous glimmers of real understanding related to the war on terror, of which it is clear he abhors, but then the silliest of liberal lines like "then uses counter-ideology programs as amnesty, repatriation, and rehabilitation for those who wish to leave militancy." We are talking terrorists who have sought to kill...not only Americans but are willing to ignore their own faith and kill innocent Muslims in the process.
It is clear that the author was not fond of President Bush but it was amazing that he completely ignored the fact that the Bush policies toward al-Qaeda have continued into the Obama Presidency.
I will agree with the author that a full-on frontal assault of the ideology is hugely important and that reaction times by the military (or related counterpart) in needed in a virtual war of video and blog responses. A true "propaganda" war is being waged and the world is losing to a militant sect of Islam.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By F. Rizzo on March 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Malcolm Nance's An End to Al Qaeda is, for all intents and purpose, a disappointing diatribe. By arguing that Al Qaeda is simply a cult, Nance asserts that a revitalized U.S. strategy void of kinetic operations and focused on counter-ideological tactics is the answer. The author continues that the U.S. should propagate its values to the Muslim World which in turn would isolate Al Qaeda from Islam. This, he claims, would bring the war to an end in two short years. Nance, a former U.S. intelligence officer, sets an omniscient tone early with a "been-there, done-that" expose, written in a style reminiscent of a Tom Clancy novel. This perceived expertise is quickly voided with misguided ramblings on Islam, Its followers, and the fundamentalists who seek to destroy It. In addition, Nance's frequent attempts to torpedo past U.S. efforts come off as a petty grudge. In the end, Nance's efforts fall far short of providing a solution to what his title promises.
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Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Far from thinking outside the box, Malcolm Nance falls into an al Qaeda trap for the unwary. I'm sure he's courageous. But having survived several suicide attacks, alone, does not make him an expert on al Qaeda ideology. To attain that end, one must study the entire Quran, and grow familiar with all major jurists of all four schools of Sunni Islam (Hanafi, Maliki, Sha'afi and Hanbali) --- plus corresponding Shi'ite philosophies. Unfortunately, Nance did not do so and apparently reached the precise false conclusions that apologists seek to implant among Western strategists --- that in seeking restoration of the caliphate, Al Qaeda (and all Islamic terrorist groups), are an aberration.

In one respect, Nance has an extremely interesting idea: to convince the Muslim masses worldwide that the Islam of al-Qaeda is not normative Islam. This endeavor, however, would be far more complex and difficult than he suggests, since Nance does not at all understand the basics of normative Islam.

Firstly, Islam had a caliphate from Mohammed's time until the allies defeated the Ottoman empire in 1918. When it was dismantled, Islam was without a caliphate for the first time in 1,300 years. A caliphate, in short, is very much part of traditional Islam. And Islam is as much a totalitarian political ideology as any other totalitarian ideology, whether in recent memory or the ancient past.

The narration is nice on the Brilliance audio edition, which I received through Amazon's Vine program. But apart from appreciating Nance's idea of trying to convince Muslims that jihad doctrine is not acceptable in modern times (or as he might say, not normative), I agree with another critic that Nance makes several fundamental errors.

Firstly, U.S.
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