This is a well-written book about Islamic Jihad and the emergence of the Wahhabi Cult. Or is it? Certainly Charles Allen writes exceedingly well and seems to have researched his subject matter thoroughly, albeit not the subject matter indicated in the book's title.
However, one cannot help feeling a little disappointed having read the book. 90% of God's Terrorists seems to deal with Islamic fundamentalism in India and Afghanistan and very few pages are dedicated to Wahhab himself or the emergence of wahhabism in what is today Saudi Arabia. The book also only makes fleeting connections to the influence wahhabism has had on other fundamentalist Islamic organisations active in the Muslim world today. Any connection between intellectual roots behind wahhabism and Al Qaeda is only superficially explored, leaving the reader somewhat mystified as to the actual strength of the link.
So much more could, and should, have been written about the relationship between the ancient Saud dynasty in Nejd and Wahhab and the way wahhabism has influenced the creation and structure of modern day Saudi Arabia. In fact, having read the book, I am non the wiser as to what wahhabism actually is and how it influences modern terrorism.
I struggled whether to give the book 1 or two stars. I settled for two in recognition of how well the book is written and the very lively and researched account of the spread of fundamentalist Islam in the former Raj. If this is a subject matter that interests you, God's Terrorists is a splendid book, which I am sure you will award five stars. If Saudi Arabia and wahhabism is your thing, you are bound to be disappointed.
Charles Allen is a profound writer on India during the period of the Great Game and it feels as if God's Terrorists is a rushed piece of work utilizing passages and subject matter previously published in other works. A real pity as this could have been a very interesting book very well worth reading.