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ISIS: The State of Terror


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About the Author

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,, has published thousands of declassified documents on the September 11 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing.


`A valuable, rigorous and perceptive guide ... Stern and Berger draw on internet-based sources, big-brained research on political violence and some of the most acute thinking about the insurgency that is around today' Literary Review

`One of this year's most useful books on the phenomenon, which showed how the terrorist movement emerged from the mind of a Jordanian criminal, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi', Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year

`Clear and succinct ... The book's achievement is to demonstrate how Isis fits within the spectrum of blood-soaked jihadists' Daily Telegraph

`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'

`One can only conclude, with the clarity of recent hindsight, that we should have seen it coming - at least when seen through the lens of `ISIS' ... a timely and important history of a movement that now defines the 21st century' Evening Standard

`The first serious book to analyse 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'

`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' John Horgan, author of `The Psychology of Terrorism'

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