The Islamic State is one of the most lethal and successful jihadist groups in modern history, surpassing even al-Qaeda. Thousands of its followers have marched across Syria and Iraq, subjugating millions, enslaving women, beheading captives, and daring anyone to stop them. Thousands more have spread terror beyond the Middle East under the Islamic State's black flag.
How did the Islamic State attract so many followers and conquer so much land? By being more ruthless, more apocalyptic, and more devoted to state-building than its competitors. The shrewd leaders of the Islamic State combined two of the most powerful yet contradictory ideas in Islam-the return of the Islamic Empire and the end of the world-into a mission and a message that shapes its strategy and inspires its army of zealous fighters. They have defied conventional thinking about how to wage wars and win recruits. Even if the Islamic State is defeated, jihadist terrorism will never be the same.
Based almost entirely on primary sources in Arabic-including ancient religious texts and secret al-Qaeda and Islamic State letters that few have seen - William McCants' The ISIS Apocalypse explores how religious fervor, strategic calculation, and doomsday prophecy shaped the Islamic State's past and foreshadow its dark future.
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This is a difficult book to review on Amazon.com, because reviews containing the sorts of words and names that would normally be used to describe the contents of this book get filtered out as potentially objectionable content.
The current refugee crisis is just one of the devastating effects of the IS. The typical Westerner has absolutely no idea how the leaders of IS think or what motivates them. In order to resist IS, it is necessary to understand their history and their apocalyptic worldview and strategy.
This book provides many useful historical insights, some of which are based on the author's interpretation of a surprising array of correspondence between the leaders of the IS movement and the leaders of that well-known organisation based in Afghanistan, whose leader met his demise at the hands of Seal Team Six.
The book does not provide a handy plan for defeating IS, but it does help the reader understand where IS leaders think the world is...
If you are interested in understanding ISIS and its underlying apocalyptic vision for the Middle East then look no further. William McCants in, The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State takes you on a bloody and violent tour of this doomsday cult in the words and writings of their leaders.
To be sure this was not what I would call a fun read, in fact the history of ISIS reads more like a real life horror story on the scale of the French Revolution or Nazi Germany but nevertheless I believe it is history which anyone interested in the subject would be well served in pursuing.
The Spanish poet and philosopher George Santayana wisely observed that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” There is no doubt in my mind that ISIS and its brutal doomsday apocalysm will go the way of other such abominable regimes but the question is what will we take away from this tragedy so that future...
Will McCants writes with expertise and aplomb about the Islamic State, its history, and the foundations of its efforts at regional dominance. While, some of the zig-zagging back and forth in time requires a bit of gymnastics from the reader, the book is both educational and entertaining. Anyone interested in learning about this organization from a truly qualified scholar would benefit from a read of this book.
Dr. McCants proclaims himself, rightly, as a guide, proficient in Islamic theology and history, modern jihadism, clandestine bureaucracies, and Arabic. The good doctor flexes his linguist muscles with translations of original Arabic texts, providing crucial context to the situations he describes.
The book covers the history of the organization, beginning with distinctions between Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State; such as, AQ wanted to build popular support for caliphate, but IS wanted to impose a caliphate, regardless of the acquiescence of the masses. The...
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