The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda
LJ Reviews 2011 September #1
Gerges (director, Middle East Ctr., London Sch. of Economics; Journey of the Jihadist) argues that the U.S. military and foreign policy establishment are entangled within a "terrorism narrative" sustained by an inflated, distorted view of al-Qaeda's operational capabilities and global reach, which he contends were drastically degraded even before Osama bin Laden's death. The peaceful character of some recent revolutions in the Arab world appear to add weight to Gerges's primary assertion, one of the major strands of this work, that al-Qaeda has long since lost any significant support or legitimacy, in part because of the indiscriminate slaughter of Muslims instigated by al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq, and that their ideology and tactics have been resoundingly rejected by large segments of the Arab populace. Gerges also focuses on al-Qaeda's role in the increasing instability in Yemen and its influence on "homegrown" radicals in America. VERDICT A cogent examination of al-Qaeda's historical trajectory that integrates major recent developments into its comprehensive analysis. This work will appeal to readers with an advanced grasp of Middle Eastern history and counterterrorism studies. It is not for general readers, although they may have seen Gerges speak accessibly as an expert on cable news.—Dennis J. Seese, American Univ. Lib., Washington, DC[Page 120]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.