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United States of Jihad
Cover of United States of Jihad
United States of Jihad
Who Are America's Homegrown Terrorists, and How Do We Stop Them?
A riveting, panoramic look at "homegrown" Islamist terrorism from 9/11 to the present

Since 9/11, more than three hundred Americans—born and raised in Minnesota, Alabama, New Jersey, and elsewhere—have been indicted or convicted of terrorism charges. Some have taken the fight abroad: an American was among those who planned the attacks in Mumbai, and more than eighty U.S. citizens have been charged with ISIS-related crimes. Others have acted on American soil, as with the attacks at Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon, and in San Bernardino. What motivates them, how are they trained, and what do we sacrifice in our efforts to track them?

Paced like a detective story, United States of Jihad tells the entwined stories of the key actors on the American front. Among the perpetrators are Anwar al-Awlaki, the New Mexico-born radical cleric who became the first American citizen killed by a CIA drone and who mentored the Charlie Hebdo shooters; Samir Khan, whose Inspire webzine has rallied terrorists around the world, including the Tsarnaev brothers; and Omar Hammami, an Alabama native and hip hop fan who became a fixture in al Shabaab's propaganda videos until fatally displeasing his superiors.

Drawing on his extensive network of intelligence contacts, from the National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI to the NYPD, Peter Bergen also offers an inside look at the controversial tactics of the agencies tracking potential terrorists—from infiltrating mosques to massive surveillance; at the bias experienced by innocent observant Muslims at the hands of law enforcement; at the critics and defenders of U.S. policies on terrorism; and at how social media has revolutionized terrorism.

Lucid and rigorously researched, United States of Jihad is an essential new analysis of the Americans who have embraced militant Islam both here and abroad.
Washington Post, Notable Non-Fiction Books in 2016
A riveting, panoramic look at "homegrown" Islamist terrorism from 9/11 to the present

Since 9/11, more than three hundred Americans—born and raised in Minnesota, Alabama, New Jersey, and elsewhere—have been indicted or convicted of terrorism charges. Some have taken the fight abroad: an American was among those who planned the attacks in Mumbai, and more than eighty U.S. citizens have been charged with ISIS-related crimes. Others have acted on American soil, as with the attacks at Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon, and in San Bernardino. What motivates them, how are they trained, and what do we sacrifice in our efforts to track them?

Paced like a detective story, United States of Jihad tells the entwined stories of the key actors on the American front. Among the perpetrators are Anwar al-Awlaki, the New Mexico-born radical cleric who became the first American citizen killed by a CIA drone and who mentored the Charlie Hebdo shooters; Samir Khan, whose Inspire webzine has rallied terrorists around the world, including the Tsarnaev brothers; and Omar Hammami, an Alabama native and hip hop fan who became a fixture in al Shabaab's propaganda videos until fatally displeasing his superiors.

Drawing on his extensive network of intelligence contacts, from the National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI to the NYPD, Peter Bergen also offers an inside look at the controversial tactics of the agencies tracking potential terrorists—from infiltrating mosques to massive surveillance; at the bias experienced by innocent observant Muslims at the hands of law enforcement; at the critics and defenders of U.S. policies on terrorism; and at how social media has revolutionized terrorism.

Lucid and rigorously researched, United States of Jihad is an essential new analysis of the Americans who have embraced militant Islam both here and abroad.
Washington Post, Notable Non-Fiction Books in 2016
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About the Author-
  • Peter Bergen is the author of four previous books about terrorism, three of which were New York Times bestsellers. He is CNN's national security analyst, vice president at New America, and a professor at Arizona State University. Bergen has held teaching positions at Harvard and at Johns Hopkins University and is a graduate of Oxford. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, documentary producer Tresha Mabile, and their two children. Find him at PeterBergen.com.

Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    March 1, 2016

    In the wake of the December 2015 attack in San Bernardino, CA, this book could not be timelier. Journalist and CNN national security analyst Bergen (Manhunt) here calmly and lucidly examines the diverse stories of the more than 300 people in the United States who have been charged with jihadist terrorist crimes since September 11, 2001. His nuanced insights, couched within a series of gripping narratives, offer readers a solid foundation to knowledgeably face the barrage of political opinions being flung about by many Americans this election year. While covering the violence at Fort Hood, TX, Little Rock, AR, and Boston in great depth, Bergen also looks at numerous foiled or failed attacks. In addition, he discusses several broader themes including lone-wolf attacks, the role of the Internet and social media, the U.S. Muslim community, and Americans traveling abroad to places such as Syria for jihadist training. Throughout the narrative, Bergen provides a balanced assessment of terrorist prevention tactics such as surveillance, informants, and drone strikes on American citizens abroad. VERDICT Highly recommended for all readers seeking an informed view of current events. [See Prepub Alert, 10/26/15.]--Brian Sullivan, Alfred Univ. Lib., NY

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • MICHIKO KAKUTANI, NEW YORK TIMES "Mr. Bergen writes with authority and range... His profiles of jihadists... leave the reader with a harrowing appreciation of the banality of evil and an unnerving sense of missteps made by the authorities... Mr. Bergen's detailed accounts of terror plots (both executed, foiled or failed) make for chilling reading."
  • JANET NAPOLITANO, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW "Excellent... Bergen's book is the best one-volume treatment available on the current state of jihad in America."
  • WALTER RUSSELL MEAD, WALL STREET JOURNAL "Peter Bergen is a skilled and sensitive reporter with unparalleled access to the law-enforcement and intelligence communities... He has written what in effect are two books about terrorism. Both are valuable. One is a riveting, thoroughly researched account of the evolving state of the threat as a growing number of American citizens join the ranks of foreign terrorist movements--and of how U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies are addressing the constantly shifting threat. The other is a skilled defense of... the Obama administration's anti-terror effort: one that attempts to steer between the perceived extremes of panicky overreaction and a failure to acknowledge how politically and socially devastating terror attacks can be."
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES "Peter Bergen... one of America's most prominent terrorism experts, makes a compelling and often unsettling case that, in the years since Sept. 11, 2001, Islamist terrorism in the United States has metamorphosed... The transformation of domestic jihadism has not only dispersed the Islamist terrorist threat but in a perverse process of cultural intermingling has partly Americanized jihad itself. The 'soft power' appeal of American culture is often considered to be one of this country's most enduring assets, but the new admixture of jihadi terror and pop culture savoir faire potentially turns this idea on its head... Bergen takes a generally skeptical view of the growth of the post-9/11 national security state and of the fear-mongering about Islam that has increasingly transfixed the darker crannies of American politics. This skepticism, I think, is not only strategically and morally sound but also borne out by the facts."
  • LIBRARY JOURNAL "Bergen calmly and lucidly examines the diverse stories of the more than 300 people in the United States who have been charged with jihadist terrorist crimes since September 11, 2001. His nuanced insights, couched within a series of gripping narratives, offer readers a solid foundation to knowledgeably face the barrage of political opinions being flung about by many Americans this election year... Highly recommended for all readers seeking an informed view of current events."
  • ANDERSON COOPER "A fascinating and vitally important look at the rise of American jihadists. Brilliantly reported and researched, this is an essential book for anyone who wants to understand why hundreds of Americans have turned to radical Islam."
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United States of Jihad
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Who Are America's Homegrown Terrorists, and How Do We Stop Them?
Peter Bergen
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