The United States of Jihad


United States of Jihad: Who Are America's Homegrown Terrorists And How Do We Stop Them? Is Peter Berger's sweeping look at terrorists inside America. I was 17 when 9/11 happened, and it's definitely marked my life into "pre-9/11" and "post-9/11". I suffered with anxiety following the attacks for years, and still feel nervous when I'm in crowded place/see an airplane too low overhead/etc. I've only flown on a plane once since 9/11, in 2005, and it was nerve wracking. I was really interested in reading Peter Bergen's book because I feel like we get too much hysteria and not enough actual information on the news. The description says:

"A riveting, panoramic look at “homegrown” Islamist terrorism from 9/11 to the present

Since 9/11, more than three hundred Americans—born and raised in Minnesota, Alabama, New Jersey, and elsewhere—have been indicted or convicted of terrorism charges. Some have taken the fight abroad: an American was among those who planned the attacks in Mumbai, and more than eighty U.S. citizens have been charged with ISIS-related crimes. Others have acted on American soil, as with the attacks at Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon, and in San Bernardino. What motivates them, how are they trained, and what do we sacrifice in our efforts to track them?

Paced like a detective story, United States of Jihad tells the entwined stories of the key actors on the American front. Among the perpetrators are Anwar al-Awlaki, the New Mexico-born radical cleric who became the first American citizen killed by a CIA drone and who mentored the Charlie Hebdo shooters; Samir Khan, whose Inspire webzine has rallied terrorists around the world, including the Tsarnaev brothers; and Omar Hammami, an Alabama native and hip hop fan who became a fixture in al Shabaab’s propaganda videos until fatally displeasing his superiors.

Drawing on his extensive network of intelligence contacts, from the National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI to the NYPD, Peter Bergen also offers an inside look at the controversial tactics of the agencies tracking potential terrorists—from infiltrating mosques to massive surveillance; at the bias experienced by innocent observant Muslims at the hands of law enforcement; at the critics and defenders of U.S. policies on terrorism; and at how social media has revolutionized terrorism.

Lucid and rigorously researched, United States of Jihad is an essential new analysis of the Americans who have embraced militant Islam both here and abroad.

— Washington Post, Notable Non-Fiction Books in 2016"

United States of Jihad is a compulsive, unputdownable read. It reads like a fiction novel, but it's chillingly all true. Each chapter delves into a homegrown terrorist - many I've never even heard of. I was up late at night reading this because I just couldn't stop turning the pages! This book is so thoroughly researched, but so incredibly interesting. It's not dry or dull in the least. This is the perfect read for anyone interested in the post-9/11 culture, terrorism, terrorists in the US, and more. Peter presents the full scope of the story and does less of drawing conclusions and more of allowing the reader to form their own conclusions. This is the best book I've read on the subject and I highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in order to provide an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

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