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Unconquerable Nation: Knowing Our Enemy, Strengthening Ourselves Paperback – August 14, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


In Unconquerable Nation, [Jenkins] has synthesized his shorter writings on terrorism from the past 6 years into a single volume that assesses the current situation, delves into the need for a deeper understanding of the terrorists and their motivations, prescribes a new set of strategic principles to guide our efforts in the Long War, and addresses how the Nation can strengthen itself. . . . [T]hought-provoking reading. (L. Yambrick Joint Force Quarterly)

Jenkins offers a number of interesting thoughts on terrorism, including terrorist motivation, successful anti- and counterterrorism tactics and specific analysis of jihadi terrorism. . . . [W]ill serve to spur further research and challenge terrorism experts to reconsider long-held views. (A. B. Lowther, Arkansas Tech University CHOICE)

The book's main contribution is Mr. Jenkins' formulation of a counterterrorism strategy to destroy what he terms the "jihadist enterprise." This enterprise is not a single organization (e.g., al Qaeda) but a worldwide "marketplace" of jihadists in which these groupings either spontaneously, or under the direction of al Qaeda's operatives, organize to achieve what they conceive to be their path of "glory." Thus, different measures are required to respond to each segment of the jihadi marketplace. . . . Mr. Jenkins' sound advice is well articulated in this compelling book and enhances our understanding of what constitutes effective counterterrorism strategy. (Joshua Sinai, The Analysis Corporation The Washington Times)

From the Inside Flap

The author presents an overview of U.S. progress in the war on terrorism, reviews the jihadists' operational code, offers strategic principles for defeating terrorists, and discusses what America must do to prevail in this struggle.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: RAND Corporation (August 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0833038915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0833038913
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,941,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By jer367 on April 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
Mr. Jenkins seems to be very well qualified to write about this subject, since the study of terrorism has been his career at the Rand Corporation for many years. I like that he doesn't appear to support either political party; there's no finger pointing. Yet, he clearly states and explains what a big mistake it was to take out Saddam Hussein. First he tells us what and who we should be fighting. Instead of just merely saying that these 'folks' are very evil and should be eradicated, he explains what motivates them. We learn that our enemy has been brainwashed to believe that God wants them to kill or at least create havoc for all infidels (the West, their sympathizers and other nonbelievers in their militant brand of Islam). Jenkins doesn't have an opinion about whether or not we should now leave Iraq. Fighting this enemy won't be over whether we quickly leave Iraq or annihilate the entire country of Iraq or something in between these two scenarios. That's because our enemy is all over the world and won't be deterred by anything we do just in Iraq. We need to change the murderous thinking of our enemy. Sort of doing some reverse brainwashing. We need to work on breaking down their recruiting machine while also trying to physically destroy them and their supporters wherever in the world we discover them. The author accepts that 'winning' this war will take many years. The author has many suggestions how to go about doing this. We need to fight this war from many different directions. In the mean time, we need to get used to occasional horrible events happening. He doesn't think that our enemy (the Jihadists as he calls them) will try anything too horrific on us.Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By LB on December 18, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author (Brian Jenkins) writes, not only with authority, (but then who doesn't these days?), but also in a way that makes this debacle and it's potential solutions, (and ongoing difficulties), crystal clear to even a neophyte.

I've read other of his works and this is, easily, not only his best but one that can also be read and understood quite clearly though the reader may be neither in the terrorism industry, (and it is, so deal with that reality), nor particularly interested in this field beyond mere daily survival and continuing ability to go about one's business relatively undisturbed.

The book deserves a wider audience if only for its thoroughness, readability and pinpoint clarity about what has become an ever too real part of our daily lives.

I've never written a review before... this author is truly talented in his ability to create understanding and a sense of personal efficacy, rather than consternation, where once concern and mystification may have resided.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jazz It Up Baby on July 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
In a glutted marketplace, discerning readers will scrutinize each new book about terrorism by asking why this specific volume has been written and what unique contribution it makes, as stated by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Sadly, Jenkins's book fails to offer satisfactory answers to these questions. This is unfortunate because he is an experienced student of terrorism who over the years has made important contributions to the field.

The first chapter sheds light on the volume's disjointed feel, explaining that the book is a collection of the briefings, memoranda, and essays that Jenkins, senior advisor to the president of the RAND Corporation, has written since 9-11. "Reviewing my own work," Jenkins states, "I find that certain basic themes recur." But the ten themes he lists are largely unrelated and do not comprise a coherent idea or theory.

Jenkins does manage to organize the book loosely around the idea of how the United States can be an "unconquerable nation" in its battle against terrorism (the term is taken from a saying of Chinese strategist Sun Tzu, who argued that "being unconquerable lies with yourself"). Jenkins' main prescriptions are inner resolve or "stoicism in the face of threats," preservation of such American values as the prohibition of torture, and smarter, more effective counterterrorism.

Although Jenkins's argumentation is overly sparse (the reader is frequently forced to take his word on assertions that are made without supporting evidence), his writing is lucid, and he makes many intelligent points.
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