ISIS: A History


Product Details

Princeton University Press
Publish Date
5.8 X 8.6 X 1.4 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author

Fawaz A. Gerges is professor of international relations and Emirates Professor in Contemporary Middle East Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His many books include The New Middle East, Obama and the Middle East, and The Far Enemy. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Foreign Affairs, and other publications.


"Not just timely but unlikely ever to be bettered, this is an indispensable guide to the evolution of the Arab world's leading terrorist organization by a global expert. Fawaz Gerges's book is judicious, well argued, and based on a close personal acquaintance with conditions in Iraq and Syria. It is unrivaled in its ability to unravel the ideological and political power struggles among ISIS leaders. And it is an often shocking indictment of Western missteps in dealing with the organization's growing capacity to harm foreign interests."--Roger Owen, author of The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life
"Fawaz Gerges, long one of the most perceptive writers about the Middle East, has written a lucid and erudite account of the rise of ISIS that will be read with great profit by both specialists and the general public."--Peter Bergen, author of United States of Jihad, Manhunt, and The Longest War
"In the flood of recent publications about ISIS, Gerges provides a welcome island of thoroughly researched analysis by a major authority on extremist Muslim movements. Both general readers and specialists will benefit from Gerges's balanced and well-informed understanding of this important and dangerous movement."--John Voll, professor emeritus, Georgetown University
"In this original and empirically rich study, Fawaz Gerges persuasively analyzes the rise and power of ISIS. Building on his profound knowledge of salafi and jihadi movements, he locates ISIS squarely in its context, dissecting the ideas and political factors that have made it so surprisingly formidable in Iraq and Syria, as well as disturbingly influential elsewhere."--Charles Tripp, SOAS, University of London
"Fawaz Gerges is the right scholar to bring the history of ISIS past its journalistic first draft. This should be a valuable source for policymakers, specialists, and the public alike."--Noah Feldman, Harvard Law School
"This is quite simply the definitive book on the group by a very smart, well-informed guide to the region, superbly researched, well-written and intelligent throughout. Everyone opining about ISIS should be required to read this book first."--Fareed Zakaria
"Fawaz Gerges is a first-class expert on contemporary Jihadist movements. This book should have a wide readership."--Ian Lustick, University of Pennsylvania
"Well-researched and lucidly argued."---Malise Ruthven, New York Review of Books
"A specific, timely, well-rendered exegesis of the unfolding global threat."--Kirkus
"This timely history gives a clear-sighted account of the ascent of the so-called Islamic State (IS)--one with far-reaching implications. The book's findings and conclusions have profound relevance not just for the future of IS in Iraq and Syria, but also for salafi jihadism, regional security in the Middle East and North Africa and international peace and security. . . . Written and edited with pellucid clarity, ISIS: A History is an important book that will have broad appeal beyond academic, diplomatic and policymaking circles."---Chris Harmer, LSE Review of Books
"[Written] with energy and clarity, and out of uncommonly extensive knowledge."---Robert Fulford, National Post
"Impressively detailed. . . . His argument is all at once persuasive, deeply depressing, yet hopeful. For all the years of sclerosis in the Middle East, political systems can be rejuvenated. The revolutions of the Arab Spring marked an attempt to do just that, and while hope has been hijacked by extremists, the opportunity to try again and again can never be taken away."---Daniel Flitton, Sydney Morning Herald
"Perhaps the most informative, clearly expressed, sober book on the subject."---William Armstrong, Hurriyet Daily News
"[Gerges's] book is one of the most coherent, comprehensive and persuasive histories of ISIS to date and deserves to be widely read."---Richard Cockett, Literary Review
"[The book's] strength stems from the sheer breadth of the survey offered by Gerges."---Shiraz Maher, New Statesman
"Gerges is clear, and it is here that the book excels, that Isis cannot be explained in isolation but must be examined in the larger sociopolitical context in which it emerged. . . . ISIS: A History makes a welcome contribution to the debate, and will be of interest to both general readers and specialists."---Christina Hellmich, Times Higher Education
"The achievement of Fawaz Gerges . . . in his compelling, insightful book is to highlight the social and sectarian pressures that led so many Iraqi and Syrian Sunnis to turn to Isis as protectors."---Michael Burleigh, The Times
"Terrific."---Michael Brull, New Matilda
"This is a comprehensive account of how ISIS emerged in the Middle East, triggered by the US invasion of Iraq, Syria's civil war, the collapse of the Arab Spring, and sectarian Sunni-Shi'a struggles. Gerges systematically details the complex social and political dynamics leading to ISIS's prominence among the Salafi-jihadist family of rivals. . . . This authoritative, empirically rich study based on primary Arabic sources should be must reading for policy makers, strategists, scholars, journalists, students, and anyone seriously concerned about the human condition."--Choice
"A remarkably clear and detailed taxonomy of ISIS."---Jerome Donnelly, America
"Written and argued with admirable clarity, ISIS: A History is a significant book with clear appeal beyond academic, diplomatic, and policy-making circles. This is a highly recommended volume and one that sets the standard for those interested in understanding the phenomenon we have come to know as ISIS."---Colin Wight, Australian Book Review
"A convincing argument."---Katherine Brown, International Affairs
"This hugely important study is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the powerful political, sectarian and religious forces currently convulsing the Arab Middle East."---P. D. Smith, The Guardian
"Honorable Mention for the 2017 PROSE Award in Government and Politics, Association of American Publishers"
"One of Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Books of 2016 in Current Affairs"
"2017 Gold Medal Winner in Current Events (Political/Economic/Foreign Affairs), Independent Publisher Book Awards"
"A CNN Fareed Zakaria GPS Book of the Week, August 7, 2016"
"One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2016"
"Shortlisted for the 2017 Arthur Ross Book Award, Council on Foreign Relations"