- Hardcover: 312 pages
- Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Edition edition (September 11, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1586484036
- ISBN-13: 978-1586484033
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,900,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Jihad Next Door: The Lackawanna Six and Rough Justice in an Age of Terror First Edition Edition
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The Lackawanna Six, Yemeni American friends living in straitened circumstances outside Buffalo, New York, accepted Kamel Derwish as their mentor in the hope of becoming better Muslims, unaware of his involvement in the attack on the USS Cole and his role as an al-Qaeda recruiter. Temple-Raston, National Public Radio's FBI correspondent and a superbly gifted author, describes with a journalist's urgency and a novelist's sensibility Lackawanna's close-knit Yemeni community; the fateful journey of the six friends to Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan; their frightening experiences at an al-Qaeda training camp; and the political frenzy surrounding their high-profile prosecution. As she sensitively portrays each of the five men currently behind bars, she reveals their dire naïveté and profound regrets, which stand in stark contrast to her revelations regarding the Bush administration's use of the Lackawanna case to bolster the Patriot Act and to justify the assassination of Derwish, an American citizen. Compelling and clarifying, Temple-Raston's invaluable exposé will stand as one illuminated chapter in a dark saga of governmental crimes and cover-ups. Seaman, Donna
"A well-written detective story." -- Washington Post, January 30, 2008
"[A] well-wrought investigative report about six young Arab-Americans from western New York who stumbled into terrorism. NPR correspondent Temple-Raston... delves deeply into the lives of these residents of Lackawanna... An elegant examination of how the rules of justice have changed since 9/11." -- Kirkus, August 1, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Theme 1: The Yemenite community in Lackawanna was typical of an ethnic/immigrant community anywhere in America in the past 100 years until this incident and its fallout. - One wishes this were true, but apparently it isn't, and Temple-Raston herself can't help but note things like this community's general celebration of the attack on the U.S. Cole (p.30), their insularity, the susceptibility of their youth to religious radicals, and their celebration of the escape of one of the "6" [really 9] from Yemenite authorities. Comparing this with the "illegal" Mexican-American community where I live, I don't see any similarity at all. My Mexican-American neighbors are rabidly pro-American [curiously, even when being chased by Homeland Security] and would like nothing better than for the U.S. model to be emulated everywhere.
Theme 2: The 6 [or 9] were just young alienated youth who really weren't at all interested in terrorism, but just wanted "to belong" and reaffirm their ethnic identity. They were misled into going to the Al Queda camps under the guise that they would be training to fight Russians and Serbs, not Americans. It was "an adventure" for the 9, not a serious taking up of arms. - The author adduces some evidence for this theme, but then, again, notes facts like the Lackawanna youth who ended up staying in the Middle East clearly declared to his fellows that he wanted to be a martyr and die for the cause. [One wonders why things were so clear to this young man but purportedly weren't at all clear to the other 8.] By the time that most of these youth had declared that the life of a Jihad warrior wasn't for them, it had been made clear to all 9 [if it wasn't crystal clear before - and it should have been crystal clear before] that the enemy was the U.S. and Israel, not the Russians and the Serbs. But was that their motivation for leaving the camp, or was their motivation that they didn't REALLY want to dedicate their lives and future to a cause, even the cause of "defending" fellow Muslims? The author doesn't seem to really know.
Theme 3: America is turning into a police state and giving up basic civil liberties gained from hundreds of years of struggle against tyranny. - This is the theme the author should have been emphasizing to start with and returning to throughout the book, yet she doesn't really get around to it until Chapter 14. The simple fact of the matter is that, although the 6 [or 9] may not have been, and may not be, very good Americans, they would not have been criminals under our laws of 50 years ago. They didn't actually DO anything to harm other Americans or their property. They would have had the same standing under previous American law as those people who were members of the German American Bund [or Henry Ford] before WWII [disgusting people, but not people we want littering our jails for their stupid views] But somehow the author seems "fuzzy" about this very basic point until nearly the end of her book.
So my evaluation is simple: Buy this book if you want somewhat disjointed sketches of the lives and some of the surroundings of the 6, with little more. Don't buy it if you are looking for a case study of this incident to accompany the many fine more theoretical studies of the loss of our civil liberties. You might borrow it from a friend and read Chapter 14, but if you are a civil libertarian there is not a lot more in the book to interest you.
Temple-Raston should have issued a retraction, or updated her book to reflect the truth. This does not add to the historical record as an example of anything other than how a journalist got fooled. Ralston apparently took Reporting 101 at J School. She should know better.
P.S. Adam Curtis' documentary is banned here. PBS refuses to broadcast it. Everyone who cares about this republic should watch Part 3. Bring popcorn and invite the family; I guarantee you won't be disappointed. [You can also buy from Amazon.]