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Recommended Books on Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorism

FACTNet Recommended Islamic Fundamentalism Books

Recommended Fiction Books

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Reviews are not by FACTNet staff

Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia
by Ahmed Rashid
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"Ahmed Rashid is a Pakistani journalist who has spent most of his career reporting on the region--he has personally met and interviewed many of the Taliban's shadowy leaders. Taliban was written and published before the massacres of September 11, 2001, yet it is essential reading for anyone who hopes to understand the aftermath of that black day. It includes details on how and why the Taliban came to power, the government's oppression of ordinary citizens (especially women), the heroin trade, oil intrigue, and--in a vitally relevant chapter--bin Laden's sinister rise to power. These pages contain stories of mass slaughter, beheadings, and the Taliban's crushing war against freedom: under Mullah Omar, it has banned everything from kite flying to singing and dancing at weddings. He has produced a compelling portrait of modern evil."


Osama Bin Laden: A Psychological and Political Portrait
by Anthony J. Dennis 
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"OSAMA BIN LADEN: A Psychological and Political Portrait" answers crucial questions concerning bin Laden’s motivations and his larger political vision. The product of over five years of research, this readable volume provides a rare window on bin Laden’s mental landscape and a deeper understanding of the most notorious mass murderer of the present age."


Triumph of Disorder: Islamic Fundamentalism, the New Face of War
by Morgan Norval
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"The world is plagued by a growing number of violent, bloody conflicts that defy reason. "Triumph of Disorder" describes this dangerous world--a world in which our armed forces may soon be deeply involved."


Usama bin Laden's al-Qaida: Profile of a Terrorist Network
by Yonah Alexander, Michael S. Swetnam
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"The al-Qaida informal and loose international network in over 50 countries has been responsible for spectacular terrorist operations such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York, the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, and is apparently linked to the attack of the destroyer USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, in 2000."


Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism
by John K. Cooley
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"Cooley's important and timely book examines 'a strange love-affair that went disastrously wrong,' the alliance between America and 'some of the most conservative and fanatical followers of Islam.' To my knowledge, it is the first on this theme....the author [is] a well-regarded Middle East correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and more recently for ABC News.... 'Unholy Wars' asks salient questions and draws on an impressive body of sources."


Holy War, Inc.: Inside The Secret World of Osama Bin Laden
by Peter L. Bergen
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"One of only a handful of Western journalists to have interviewed the world's most wanted man face to face, Peter Bergen has produced the definitive book on the Jihadist network that operates globally and in secrecy. In the course of four years of investigative reporting, he has interviewed scores of insiders -- from bin Laden associates and family members to Taliban leaders to CIA officials -- and traveled to Afghanistan, Yemen, Egypt, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom to learn the truth about bin Laden's al Queda organization and his mission."


Warriors of the Prophet : The Struggle for Islam
by Mark Huband
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"More than ever, it has become imperative for the West to understand the Arab world. Warriors of the Prophet chronicles Osama bin Laden's ascent to power during the Islamic Afghan resistance to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Author Mark Huband reveals the important role bin Laden played in uniting the Arab Muslims with their Afghan compatriots and spreading the ideology of the jihad, or holy war, to protect Islam, to all the various Islamic factions that took part in the war in Afghanistan. Although a number of recent books address the rise of fundamentalist movements in the Islamic world, none attempt to explain to general readers the emergence, character, and significance of that revival, nor do they bring together the many voices dividing both conservative and liberal currents in the region."


The Rise of the Islamic Empire and the Threat to the West
by Anthony J. Dennis
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"This book, based on the premise that fundamentalist Islam will, by the end of the 1990s, threaten world peace and 'the very survival of the human species,' discusses the transformation of Islam from a religious to a revolutionary movement..... The author contends that, in its present form, Islam is used by political dictators to justify their quest for power..... The correspondence of these internal and external events leads Dennis to conclude that 'while the Soviet Empire was breaking up and dying worldwide, another empire founded upon another set of ideals was just being born.' Stressing the danger posed by Islamic fundamentalism, Dennis remarks that 'since the early days of the Islamic revolution inside Iran, the threat of fundamentalist Islam to world peace and human progress and advancement has only grown larger."


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