Here are five books that help to better understand the phenomenon of modern terrorism
My favourite reads: Jack Moore
Terrorism has impacted societies like no other phenomenon in the 21st century. From wars across the world to heightened security at home, there is no escaping the threat of attacks. I have closely followed the subject for years and recommend these titles for those interested in it.
The Black Banners by Ali Soufan (2011)
I love this book because it provides an insight few others could offer. Ali Soufan, former FBI special agent, takes readers inside the American battle against Al Qaeda, high-stakes interrogations after 9/11 and the struggle between the FBI and CIA’s top counterterror officers. Having served as one of the agency’s interrogators, he outlines the art of cross-examination and how he extracted information.
The New Threat from Islamic Militancy by Jason Burke (2015)
After ISIS became a global story, authors rushed to pen works on a new wave of terrorism, but this one stood out from the crowd. It is a crucial primer on the rise of Islamic militancy, those who seek to kill in the name of religion and the random nature of modern terrorism that intelligence services are confronting to this day.
ISIS: Inside The Army of Terror by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan (2015)
This book outlines the origins of ISIS in Iraq and its eventual rise in Syria in 2014, delivering the complexities of the subject in an accessible format. It also uses accounts from insiders to shed light on the group’s governance and how Iraqi Baathists who once served under Saddam Hussein shaped one of the most brutal terror groups in history.
Radicalized: New Jihadists And The Threat To The West by Peter R Neumann (2016)
Neumann’s book stood out to me as it was one of the first to deal with the wave of homegrown foreign fighters travelling to join ISIS, and the threat they posed to security in the West. Neumann makes the point that not all supporters of terror groups are the same and classing everyone as such, could radicalise others further.
I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad by Souad Mekhennet - (2017)
The Arab-German journalist takes you behind the scenes of reporting on terrorism. Read this book for her account of how she unearthed a world exclusive for The Washington Post. She revealed the identity of the ISIS executioner identified as ‘“Jihadi John” to be a Briton from a well-to-do family in West London.
Jack Moore is the assistant foreign editor for The National