- Paperback: 560 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 14, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812969847
- ISBN-13: 978-0812969849
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#265,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #379 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics > Security
- #446 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Terrorism
- #500 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Intelligence & Espionage
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The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam's War Against America Reprint Edition
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From Library Journal
Benjamin, the National Security Council's director for counterterrorism during the Clinton administration, and Simon, its first senior director of counterterrorism, here argue that Osama bin Laden is not the root of terrorist evil but merely a branch. Chillingly, the authors signed the contract for this book before September 11.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“A lucid, passionate, shocking account of Islamist terrorism. Anyone interested in how the enemies of the West operate will want to read this book. And even those who are not, should.”
"The Age of Scared Terror provides a staggering account of the origins of al-Qaeda, its motives and its bloody history since the early 1990s. After reading this book no one should be in any doubt that a new and unprecedented form of terrorism dedicated to the mass destruction of human life now exists. The book is also the chilling story of how slow and reluctant the West has been to recognize and counter an enemy whose intentions are more deadly than any it has ever faced before. The events of September 11, 2001, changed the world: Ours has truly become the age of sacred terror. This book explains in great and compelling detail how those events were possible, how they might perhaps have been avoided, and how they could occur again. Everyone should read it - and be warned."
"Of the many books spawned by September 11, this one is in a class by itself. The authors range widely and authoritatively from history to current events; from fast-paced narrative to sharp, often original analysis; from deep behind enemy lines, where they get into the heads of the enemy, to the Situation Room in the basement of the White House where the American response is formulated (and where the authors logged so many hours themselves). In the phrase that has gained such currency since 9/11, here's a book that truly connects the dots. It does so in a spare, lucid style with flashes of real brilliance and with admirable fairness to all three administrations -- from Bush to Clinton to Bush -- that have grappled with a decade of steadily escalating terrorism."
-Strobe Talbott, former deputy Secretary of State and author of The Russia Hand: A Memoir of Presidential Diplomacy
“With telling detail and crisp prose, Benjamin and Simon’s book may emerge as the best insider account.”—Mark Strauss, The Washington Post
“These authors know ﬁrsthand how decisions are made within the White House’s National Security Council, irrespective of the political party in power.... [A] meticulously researched, well-written book.”—Judith Miller, The New York Times
“[The] book’s most important and lasting contribution is its exploration of the relationship between al-Qaeda’s toxic message and the Muslim mainstream. [The authors] examine in considerable detail the gradual evolution of Islamist political thought, describing the timeless inﬂuence of Islamic thinkers such as the thirteenth-century theologian Taqi al-Din ibn Taymiyya and the eighteenth-century preacher Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, whose ideas form the political and religious foundation of modern Saudi Arabia.”—Ellen Laipson, Foreign Affairs
“[A] gripping account of al-Qaeda’s rise and America’s response.”—Newsweek
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Top customer reviews
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The book starts with a summary of recent terrorist acts committed against American interests in the name of Allah, and then goes back to the earliest of the Muslim fundamentalists. They show the cyclical nature of terrorism, and how Islam has metastasized over the last 700 years since Taqi al-Din ibn Taymiyya and his Kharijites introduced terror as a core concept within Islam. We learn of the contributions of Muhammad ibn Abdel al Wahhab, of Rashid Rida, and of Hasan al Banna and Sayyad Qutb. But that's just the first 94 pages since this isn't a history; it's an analysis of contemporary events. Accordingly, the focus is on the present incarnation of the Muslim nightmare, Usama bin Laden. Throughout this historical narrative we learn that both the subculture of terrorism and the broader Muslim culture are strongly connected, so that the basis for terrorist violence is well established and legally unassailable.
And this isn't the turgid prose of academic research, of ancient history, or of political wonkism. The writing is positively entertaining: "The Jordan Rift Valley, a deep and unstable fissure in the earth's crust, provides a metaphor for the country through which it runs. The Hashemite kingdom of Jordan straddles political fault lines ... and if any of these divisions widen, it could bring down the palace roof." And later: "Yousef and Kansi were anomalies; they fit no part of the accepted taxonomy of terror, with its two great phyla, the soldiers of national liberation groups, and the agents of state sponsors."
And Americans still don't get it. Terrorism is now parodied on stage, and has become the staple of movie plots. The more we treat Muslim terrorism as a peripheral problem, the more we believe that we've broken the back of the problem, or turned the corner, the more vulnerable we become. They hate us; they're still out there; and they have the means. They don't want to negotiate; they don't want to influence our actions; they want to annihilate us.
The authors do have a political viewpoint, but that did not detract from the book for me.
There is a suggestion that Egypt and Saudia Arabia may be susceptible targets for Islamic fundamentalists because of their treatment of their citizens, and that the US cannot put pressure on them to change because the US is dependent upon their support in case Iraq acts out. That would at least be one possible explanation for the present administration's preoccupation with Iraq. If Iraq can be "brought around," then the US can pressure Egypt and Saudia Arabia authorities to be better people and thus perhaps stave off a fundamentalist takeover.
The book also includes the ever-present lament about the state of the US media/press. With corporate ownership of the media and the greed motive in control of news reporting, we have a problem. A free nation needs a free press, and we don't have much of that anymore.
This is such a great book that it's hard to write a short review. It's worth reading every single word.