Al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam Paperback – 30 Aug 2007
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A must-read ... Burke's book is the one that will last. It's a triumph (Giles Foden Guardian )
The most reliable and perceptive guide to the rise of militant Islam yet published (William Dalrymple Observer )
Indispensable (John Gray New Statesman )
From the Inside Flap
"Fascinating....packed full with totally new material". Gilles Kepel, author of Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam
"A book which vastly increases our understanding of the al-Qaeda phenomenon. Burke writes with admirable lucidity and the benefit of his frontline reporting and deep research". Peter Bergen, author of Holy War
"Jason Burke has undertaken an impressive amount of both desk and field research to challenge the myth of al-Qaeda as a monolith orchestrating terrorist activity world-wide". Peter Marsden, author of the Taliban:War and Religion in Afghanistan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It does not say there is not an Al-Qaeda but shows the way this "organisation" is portrayed in the West is wrong, and shows how our "War on Terror" will not tackle the real events going on in our world today.
I did find some of the book heavy going, especially in places where there a lot of names mentioned. I must admit to my ignorant western eye, a lot of the Arabic names started to look the same. Even so I found the subject matter fascinating.
His obvious knowledge of Afghanistan shines through, and the fact that he has come as close as possible to some of the other sources of information is remarkable.
It makes you question the view we get on this subject by the mass media, and you realise most journalists covering this matter are either ignorant or towing a line to reinforce the myth of Al-Qaeda. It is interesting that i have seen recently some British ex-ministers talk along the same lines as this book, now they do not have to toe party lines.
I would give this book 5 stars, but I do think that maybe the books chronological order and story telling could have been a bit tighter, but otherwise a definite recommendation.
For those however seeking snippit, Michael Moore-style, ammunition to aim at the Bush administration and their cronies, disappointment will prevail because this is not a book of soundbites. It contains the narratives of various terrorist attacks pre and including September 11th 2001 that have been dubbbed posthumously 'Al-Qaeda'. Burke explores, with remarkably lucid prose, the histories and associations of the characters involved in the various episodes and paints quite a terrifying picture. Throughout the incidents told, connections to Osama Bin Laden are sought and much of his motivation is explained. From disillusionment with the Saud dynasty and his dismissal of indulgence in the Bin Ladens' riches Burke traces Osama's international trail. Burke has not been too timid to address the relationship of Islam with the terrorist movement either, much of the book in fact revolves around the idea of Islam being a massively political religion and argues that although many terrorists are currently aiming their hostility at the west it is in order to remedy political hypocrisy in their native lands. It is a very well balanced book that has a lot of contemporary importance. It shows what the political Islamists are fighting for and goes some way to categorising the different strands of the movement without making it seem too straightforward.Read more ›
This is readable and informative, and fascinating. If you want a clear, dispassionate, explanation of the subject you need look no further.
Burke has spent a number of years in various Islamic hot spots (Saudi, Afghanistan, Kurdish Iraq) and has apparently the spent the most of the last four years doing his homework. The account he sets out (which really ought not to be a surprise to anyone but the Neo-Conservatives) is that Islamic militancy is not centrally controlled; there is no "head of the snake" except the one Western foreign policy has created in Osama Bin Laden. For nothing has assisted fundamentalism as a rallying point for (the in reality mostly social and political) discontent in the Islamic word than his vilification by Messrs Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and their friends. Indeed, Burke's case is that before the Western Hawks began targeting it, Islamic militancy was, amongst its own constituents, all but dead in the water.
Burke is convincing in his arguments that Al-Qaeda *the actual organisation* was never more than a hard-core of twenty or thirty militants, was not more than indirectly associated with many of the terrorist acts attributed to them, and was dispersed, incapacitated and in large part eliminated after the war in Afghanistan. But Al Qaeda *the idea* - which is the creation of western conservative political classes - has spread virus-like amongst the Islamic world, and is a much more threatening spectacle.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating read. An immense amount of detail and background that helps cut through the rhetoric.Published 2 months ago by Damien H
Really good content but felt a bit cheated as from 65% complete onwards it's just a bibliography etc A good read though.Published 20 months ago by Neil Tolerton
I came away having finished this book feeling much better informed about radical islam. Jason Burke's description of the structure and role that Al-Qaeda play as being similar to... Read morePublished on 4 Jun. 2013 by Nico
This book was an ok read. I found it a little convoluted, but none the less it give me some new insight into the subject.Published on 13 Sept. 2011 by Ben Rawson