Author(s): Jessica Stern
The first major book on ISIS to be published since the group exploded on the international stage in summer 2014. Drawing on their unusual access to intelligence sources and material, law enforcement, and groundbreaking research into open source intelligence, Jessica Stern and J M Berger outline the origins of ISIS (known variously as ISIL and IS) as the formidable terrorist group it has quickly become. 'ISIS: The State of Terror' delves into the 'ghoulish pornography' of pro-jihadi videos, the seductive appeal of 'jihadi chic' and the startling effectiveness of the Islamic State's use of social media as a means of luring and recruiting citizens from countries such as the United States, Great Britain, and France-using recent examples such as Douglas McCain, the American citizen from Minnesota who joined ISIS and died in combat fighting on the side of the Islamic State. Although the picture Stern and Berger paint is bleak, 'State of Terror' also offers well-informed thoughts on potential government responses to ISIS - most importantly, emphasizing that we must alter our present conceptions of terrorism and react to the rapidly changing jihadi landscape, both online and off, as quickly as the terrorists do. 'ISIS: The State of Terror' is not only a compelling account of the evolution of a terrorist organization, but also a necessary book that attempts to answer the question of what our next move - as a country, as a government, as the world - should be.
'By far the most important contribution yet to our understanding of an organization that remains cloaked in mystery and misunderstanding. Stern and Berger are two of the world's leading experts on violent extremism and, in this book, they have combined their years of knowledge and expertise into a brisk, readable, and eye opening account of ISIS's past, present, and future.' -Reza Aslan, author of No god but God and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth 'The State of Terror is the first serious book to analyze the rise of ISIS, arguably one of history's most successful terrorist groups. Stern and Berger write clearly and persuasively and marshal impressive primary research from ISIS's prodigious propaganda to help explain how ISIS became the dominant jihadi group today. It's a terrific and important read' -Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden, from 9/11 to Abbottabad 'From two of the world's leading terrorism experts, this timely and urgent book is absolutely essential reading for analysts and policy makers alike. In what is already a cornerstone contribution, Stern and Berger offer the kind of cold-blooded analysis so desperately needed on the poorly understood phenomenon that is the so-called Islamic State' -John Horgan, author of The Psychology of Terrorism 'Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger pull back the curtain to expose facts and myths about the violent Salafi apocalyptic cult calling itself the Islamic State. This book is a must-read for perplexed policymakers' -Mike Walker, former undersecretary and acting secretary of the United States Army
Jessica Stern is a Lecturer on Terrorism at Harvard University and serves on the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law. She was a member of the National Security Council Staff in 1994-95, and worked as an analyst at Livermore Lab. She is the author of 'Denial: A Memoir of Terror' (selected by the Washington Post as a best book of the year) 'Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill' (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year), and 'The Ultimate Terrorists'. J.M. Berger is the author of 'Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam', a critically acclaimed history of the American jihadist movement, and editor of 'Beatings and Bureaucracy: The Founding Memos of al Qaeda'. He is a regular contributor to 'Foreign Policy' magazine, where he wrote in 2013 about his lengthy online interactions with American jihadist Omar Hammami. Berger is a consultant and instructor for private companies and government agencies on topics such as domestic extremism and the use of Big Data to analyze how extremists use social media. His website, Intelwire.com, has published thousands of declassified documents on the September 11 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing.