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Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of al Qa'ida since 9/11 Hardcover – May 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393081451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393081459
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A chronological, historical walk-through of successive waves of al-Qaeda terrorism from 1998 to the present…. The author ably organizes all the pieces of the puzzle regarding successive terrorist attacks, fleshing out the numerous personalities involved, … and establishing excellent perspective on the amorphous nature of the enemy and the dissention from within. … From a knowledgeable guide, a thoughtful study of the pattern of violence and response.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Seth Jones is a gifted writer and scholar. His research, attention to detail and narrative skills make Hunting in the Shadows essential reading. At a time of public uncertainty about where the war against Al Qaeda is going, here is a reliable, compelling map, rich with new information.” (Steve Coll, Author of The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001)

“Seth Jones has produced a masterpiece, pulling together a fragmented and little-known sequence of events into a coherent, and highly readable account. His ‘wave and counter-wave’ framework helps make sense of complex patterns, and his analysis is likely to stand the test of time. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in current events or in the future of conflict.” (David Kilcullen, author of The Accidental Guerilla)

“The best researched study of al Qaeda’s plots, both successful and foiled, to attack America and its allies since 911. A critical account essential to understanding how the threat is evolving.” (Bruce Riedel, former CIA officer and senior advisor to three U.S. presidents on the Middle East and South Asia (also senior fellow at the Brookings Institution))

“Seth Jones was called to the war zones by commanders of special operations forces to advise them on the nuances of the places, people and events of high importance in our pursuit of terrorists. Hunting in the Shadows is a clear and engaging account that draws on Seth’s long experience in the region - a truly valuable work by a uniquely knowledgeable and talented writer.” (Admiral Eric T. Olson, U.S. Navy (Ret), Former Commander of United States Special Operations Command)

About the Author

Seth G. Jones has served as a senior advisor at U.S. Special Operations Command and is currently associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at RAND, an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, and the author of In the Graveyard of Empires.

Customer Reviews

Mr Jones did a great job with this book.
as0110
It's my go-to book on understanding these complex issues.
Angi English
A very interesting and informative read. .
Emery LeBaudour

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Robert Eddy on April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"Hunting in the Shadows" is, by far, the best book on al Qaeda I have read in the last few years. It digs deeply into some of the most significant terrorist plots and attacks -- from the 2005 al Qaeda-led London bombings to the 2009 al Qaeda plot by Najibullah Zazi to conduct suicide attacks on the New York City subway. The book is extremely well-written and includes interesting dialogue from signals intelligence intercepts and other sources. It's also balanced and objective. Perhaps most useful, however, is Dr. Jones' framework for understanding al Qaeda's activities in a series of "waves" and "reverse waves." In sum, lots of good information, well-written, and important argument. I liked it to so much I've started reading it ... again.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Florent on July 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Seth Jones lays out the facts and nuances of the main characters that have walked the path to terrorism. His thoughtful analysis and writing creates a flow that reads similarly to Looming Tower or even the 9/11 Commission Report. An excellent reference for those that wish to learn more about the backgrounds of terrorists and the reasons for tactical response.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bart Rogers on May 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I served on several of the missions described in "Hunting in the Shadows," so saw them up close. Dr. Jones provides an unparalleled -- and stunningly accurate -- picture of U.S., British, and other allied efforts against al Qaeda. I found his argument that al Qaeda's strengths and weaknesses have risen and fallen in a series of "waves" to be novel and highly persuasive. I also appreciate his objectivity; there is no political bent to the story. And he pulls no punches. The U.S. made mistakes in some areas, but had great successes in others. I thought the best part of the book was his second-to-last section -- on "The Third Wave" -- which provides an inside-the-mission feel to some of the most dangerous terrorist plots against the United States. A big kudos to Dr. Jones. I just wish people like me -- who served on several of these missions -- had this kind of an analysis earlier.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazin on August 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was lucky to meet the author at a seminar a few months ago and couldn't wait to read his book. Seth Jones is a true counterterrorism expert and a great writer. He goes into remarkable behind the scenes detail of many of the major terrorism events in the US over the past ten years. The story lines are amazing and the writing is gripping. The behind the scenes efforts to deal with al Qaeda are extraordinary and I gained an enormous appreciation for both the challenges our counterterrorism experts face and what they accomplish. A must read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fearno1 on December 16, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I personally think that this was one of the most concise historical books about al Qa`Ida and their ideology that has ever been written. I would like to commend the author for his outstanding efforts in portraying who they are as a group and exactly what they are capable of doing to those of us who don't follow their beliefs. This is a must read book for people who truly want to understand why this particular group has done these extreme events.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By netta on October 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book paints a much broader picture of the background and history of Al' Qaeda and the fight prior to 9/11. It was a fascinating tail that really opens ones eyes to the struggles the Nation faced with knowing the how of the imminent attacks, but the when and where were a constant mystery. This book is a must read for anyone wanting to learn more about the steps of how and why our country treats terrorist threats today the way we do. Excellent read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wally on July 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read several books now on this topic and this was probably the most balanced and informative of all. Excellent!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hunting in the Shadows is a very interesting account of al Qaeda's operations and status since 9/11. This chronicles the various operations conducted or inspired by al Qaeda and the various individuals in carrying out the plots and the aftermath. What the author argues is that al Qaeda's operations come in waves in which operations are planned grow strength and attempted or carried out followed by a lull as those attempts are responded to. For example the first wave began with the US Embassy bombings in 1998 and crested wit the 9/11 attacks. The wave then ebbed as the US began operations to destroy al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan only to rise once again as the US invaded Iraq. As one reads it becomes clear how the US adapted to it's strategy fighting al Qaeda and likewise how al Qaeda attempted to cope with the changing battlefield and challenges of becoming gradually decentralized as leaders were systematically killed or captured.

One thing readers can appreciate is the lack of partisanism. Dr. Jones writes objectively; pointing out the various policy flaws and failures of Washington as well as the strengths of those pursuing al Qaeda. We are good at hunting and responding but it appears prevention and identifying plots and plotters is still weak. One thing is clear: we got lucky on several occasions that al Qaeda trained bombers such as the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, the Christmas day underwear bomber,and the NYC Times Square car bomb attempt were pretty amateurish.

Dr. Jones, a RAND employee, also offers suggestions that policy makers would be wise to heed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Seth G. Jones serves as an advisor and plans officer for the Commanding General, U.S. Special Operations Forces, in Afghanistan. He lives outside of Washington, DC, and contributes regularly to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Jones was named one of 2008's 'Best and Brightest' young policy experts by Esquire.

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