Since early 2007, a new breed of combatants has appeared on the streets of Mogadishu and other towns in Somalia: 'the Shabaab', or youth, the only self-proclaimed branch of Al-Qaeda to have gained acceptance and praise from Ayman al-Zawahiri and the 'AQ centre' in Afghanistan. A 2006 offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union, the Shabaab have imposed Sharia law, while also being heavily influenced by local clan structures within Somalia. Hansen portrays this infamous and widely discussed, yet little-researched and understood group, as a hybrid Islamist organisation that combines a strong streak of Somali nationalism with the rhetorical obligations of international jihad, with the latter attracting a significant number of foreign fighters to its ranks. Hansen's remarkable book goes beyond media headlines and simplistic analyses. By employing intensive field research conducted within Somalia, as well as on-the-ground interviews with Shabaab leaders themselves, he explores the history of an organisation that has survived predictions of its collapse on several occasions. Thus far, Ethiopian, American and African Union attempts to defeat it militarily have come to naught.