16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Al Qaeda fact or myth,
This review is from: Al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam (Paperback)
I've just finished reading this excellent book by Jason Burke who unlike many journalists who claimed to be experts on the subject matter, actually did his homework and approached the topic with an amazing inquisitive way. He went out and met the people concerned and was able to dig up a lot of original material and trace back the origins of salafi thought and how it developed during the oil boom of the 70's and early 80's. Apart from getting few names and titles wrong, Jason was able to produce a masterpiece that should be compulsory reading to all politicians and journalists dealing with the rise of Islamic militancy. My only criticism is that Jason was not able to elaborate on the collaboration between the Islamic militants and the CIA during the war against the Soviets in the 80's. He seems to imply that the US played a very minor role in the events in Afghanistan which we know now was not the case. In fact the US was one of the major players alongside Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. It offered logistic as well as military and intelligence support to the mujahidin and was pretty instrumental in driving the Soviets out.