Unlike many of the books available today, Wiktorowicz has written a book that is based on social science, not the faddish headlines of the day. The book will invariably divide readers into two camps; those who are interested in extremism and those who truly want to understand the recruitment and radicalization process.
The book is best summarized by looking at his three central questions:
1. How are individuals drawn into the socialization process where they can be exposed to radical, religious education?
2. How do individuals come to accept and adopt the radical Islamic ideology as their own world view?
3. How does socialization overcome "the free rider dilemma?" In other words, convince individuals to do things that are not in their own self interest, and participate in high risk behavior that could lead to arrest, jail or death?
In the end, the author shows how terrorists capitalize, or if necessary create, "cognitive openings," which are periods in which individuals are willing to question their own long held personal beliefs and consider radical new ideas. Once an individual is convinced that the group's radical goals or the rewards for participation in the group's activities (e.g. eternal paradise) are MORE IMPORTANT than their well beings, you have yourself an operative.
This is a great read for those who seriously want to understand the recruitment and radicalization problem, as well as those who are charged to slow the spread of radicalism.