Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS
By Joby Warrick
Published in 2015
Thibault’s Score: 4/5
This fast-paced and well-written book is a veritable page turner. I had low expectations, because ISIS is recent history, and the book is a few years old, but was very pleasantly surprised.
The book follows the early history of ISIS through the eyes of various witnesses: American ambassadors, Jordanian intelligence, prison doctors, and CIA agents. It chronicles the fascinating personal story of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (pictured on the cover of the book) as he becomes slowly radicalized, gets sent to prison, and eventually grows into a terrorist leader. The book also does a great job at explaining the confusing transition from Al Qaeda to ISIS in the years following al-Zarqawi’s death.
Everything from the investigations of the intelligence agencies to the inner workings of terrorist organizations. I learned a lot about ISIS and Middle Eastern politics in general, and my views of Middle Eastern politics have evolved.
One small warning: the book is written by an obvious neocon, and some of the chapters seem to be tempered by this perspective.
I strongly recommend this book as a starting point to everyone interested in learning more about ISIS.
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