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The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global Paperback – April 6, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0340970515 ISBN-10: 0340970510 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (April 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340970510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340970515
  • ASIN: 0521737435
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #541,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for the First Edition

"...a few brave academics have stepped with books that evince a clearsighted vision and solid expertise. Among the best of these is Fawaz A. Gerges's The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global." - Chronicle of Higher Education

"The title of Fawaz A. Gerges's incisive The Far Enemy refers to the al Qaeda term for the United States and its Western allies, but the book's focus is squarely on the internal divisions and ideological disputes that rent the jihadis during the mid-1990s." - Washington Post Book World

"The author uses primary Arabic sources and interviews with militants to give a fascinating account of one of the most complex phenomena in the contemporary Middle East. Highly recommended." - Choice

Suggested reading about Islam and its history, New York Times "Week in Review" section

"The book provides a remarkable picture of the complexity of the jihad movement in recent decades." - The International History Review

"The Far Enemy is a significant work and is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the trajectory of jihad movements over the past three decades." - International Journal of Middle East Studies

Book Description

Fawaz Gerges' book on al Qaeda and the jihadist movement has become a classic in the field since it was published in 2005. Revisiting The Far Enemy in this new edition, Gerges shows that not only have the jihadists split ranks, but that voices from within the ultra-religious right, those that previously supported al Qaeda, are condemning its tactics as violent, unethical, and out of accord with the true meaning of jihad.

More About the Author

Fawaz A. Gerges, the Director of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics, is Professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations. His books include Journey of the Jihadist and The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global. (Photo Credit: Jane Hoffer)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty on September 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
There is no doubt that Islam as a religion and Islamic-Western relations as a political problem have captured the attention of everyone in the United States who is tuned into current affairs. September 11th, the worst terrorist attack in American history, and the current international war on terrorism have changed the lives of people around the globe. The search for the accused masterminds behind 9/11 and other recent attacks against Western and Western-allied targets, and the pursuit of those who are the direct perpetrators of terrorist activities, is an ongoing and very expensive enterprise.

Of particular interest are the whereabouts and capture of Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, leaders of the terrorist group called Al Qaeda. For the most part, Al Qaeda has been characterized as an Islamist front united in armed struggle, or "jihad," against Western civilization and Western interests. But Fawaz A. Gerges, a noted historian and Middle East expert, has a different take on the matter and has offered his own analysis in "The Far Enemy," a book that is extremely detailed and meticulously researched.

Gerges certainly possesses the credentials needed to write a book such as this. Educated at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, he has previously been a Research Fellow at Harvard and Princeton universities, and he now holds the Christian A. Johnson Chair in International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies at Sarah Lawrence College. Gerges has written widely on Arab and Muslim politics, Islamist movements, American foreign policy, and relations between the world of Islam and the West.
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46 of 57 people found the following review helpful By M. L Lamendola VINE VOICE on September 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When any book has 60-some pages of citations and notes, you know it's a serious work.

These days, it seems everyone is an armchair expert with a "factual" opinion on the global Jihad situation. Because I receive phone calls from US soldiers and civilians serving or working in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Bosnia, I have a bit of insight into this situation. What most people spew as fact is merely rewarmed televised propaganda with little or no basis in reality.

Thus, it was refreshing to read Gerges' well-researched book. Gerges is authoritative, not opinionated. This is evident in his extensive use of letters written by various key players in the global jihad psychodrama.

One of the points he discussed was how the Muslim mainstream has rejected Osama bin Laden--and why. Through my volunteer work in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), I have been interacting with Muslims for many years--long before September 11. My opinion of these people has nothing to do with their religion. I have found them to be intelligent, hard-working, considerate, and giving. Not at all the characterization we find being put forth by our more "insulated" fellow citizens. Being of Sicilian decent myself, I know a thing or two about being "suspected"--as many innocent Muslims are today.

The situation in the Middle East is not one of a monolithic Muslim culture waging war against the so-called "Christian" nations. In France, Muslims outnumber Catholics and Protestants combined. Any time I read a book or article about Jihad, I know the author has stepped into "stupidland" as soon as there's mention of "the Middle East Muslims still fighting the Crusades against Europe."

Yes, in the minds of a few zealot Muslims, the Crusade thing is true.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Stratiotes Doxha Theon VINE VOICE on January 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Though the author seems to belabor the point at times, the end result is a study in the jihadist trends of the past 30+ years. In this book you will be introduced to the key players in this drama along with the historical background of how their thought and teaching developed. It will take some time to digest it all but do not rush the reading and you will be rewarded with a level of analysis lacking in most books and reporting on the subject. It is well written for such a complex and daunting study.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on January 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Fawaz Gerges here gives us an enormously useful history of the jihadi movement, one that benefits greatly from his facility with Arabic sources and his access to many jihadis for interviews. Of greatest importance though is the analysis he provides of the terrorist threat. While some hawks have argued that Mr. Gerges has historically had a tendency to minimize that threat, events seem to bear out his argument that:

The September 11 attacks were not just a product of the civil war within the House of Islam but a direct result of the civil war within the jihadist movement itself. In this sense, the United States was a secondary, not a primary, target of jihadis' military escalation, and the bulk of jihadis (religious nationalists) remained on the sidelines and did not join the onslaught by their transnationalist counterparts. If my thesis holds, then Al Qaeda represents more of a national security problem to the United States than a strategic threat, as the conventional wisdom in the American foreign policy establishment has it.

Therefore, it is critical to highlight the internal turmoil among jihadis because it brought about dramatic shifts in their thinking and action and caused further splits in their ranks.

It is certainly the case that the 9-11 attacks have been disastrous for the most anti-Western extremists, provoking the U.S. into actions that have decimated al Qaeda, brought democracy to Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon, liberalization to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc., and hastened settlements between the Israelis and Palestinians and Pakistan and India. The irony for al Qaeda is that in striking a secondary target they inflicted on themselves strategic defeat.
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