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February 19th, 2008 at 11:16 am

Books for the Candidates: Terrorism

This continues our series of blog postings on essential reading for the presidential candidates. Two weeks ago we advised our candidates to read The Economists’ Voice, edited by Joseph Stiglitz, Aaron Edlin, and J. Bradford Delong to prepare for tackling the mighty American economy once in office.

Inside Terrorism, by Bruce HoffmanNow, it’s time for our candidates to look into the global phenomenon of terrorism. The first recommendation is Bruce Hoffman’s now classic book, Inside Terrorism. The New York Times Book Review calls it a “must read” and the Washington Post calls it “Brilliant… The best one-volume introduction to the phenomenon.” We’ve posted an excerpt from the book and an interview with Bruce Hoffman from Der Spiegel.

Abu Mus'ab al-SuriThe next selection is a study of the writings of the Al-Qaeda strategist Abu Mus’ab al-Suri by Brynjar Lia in Architect of Global Jihad: The Life of Al Qaeda Strategist Abu Mus’ab al-Suri. Al-Suri, whose work the Global Islamic Call lays out the means to implement jihadi guerrilla warfare globally, has influenced countless numbers of jihadists coming out of Afghanistan. He was allegedly picked up by the U.S. military in Pakistan in 2005, and presumably is being held somewhere secret for a very long time. So, we can’t expect to see any more of the writings of this influential thinker anytime soon.
What makes this book so great is not only that it tells the life of al-Suri, but it also contains the first English language translation of parts of the text of Global Islamic Call. There is no better way to get into the mind of al-Qaeda than to read the source material they work from.

For more on al-Suri, you can read Brynjar Lia’s article “Al Suri’s Doctrines for Decentralized Jihadi Training,” Craig Whitlock’s piece in the Washington Post, “Architect of New War on the West,” and an article from the Counterterrorism Blog.

(Image Source: Rewards for Justice)

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