Note: Full citations for all works mentioned in this essay are included at the end of this article.
Even before the dust had settled on Ground Zero and the fires were extinguished at the Pentagon, a host of writers had furrowed their brows and fired up their PCs to set about explaining September 11. On the eve of the fourth anniversary of 9/11, they are still writing. The cumulative result has been literally hundreds of books designed to satisfy the intense need of Americans to understand the recent past and guide them away from future peril.
Not surprisingly, the quality of the early books is uneven, particularly as many are the work of under-tutored journalists following the siren call of their bank accounts. Over time, writing and research on 9/11 and Islamist terrorism have improved, but a want of analytical quality remains. While genuine authorities on the Middle East have by now brought their years of experience to bear, they have also brought in train their prejudices–about the United States, Israel, Islam and myriad related topics. Policymakers from the Clinton and Bush Administrations, too, have parlayed their access into books, and the result has been a general propensity to blame everyone but themselves for the attacks. If this were not reason enough to be wary (and weary) of the extant literature, obvious partisans have also piled on, seeing as their sacred duty either the defense or the excoriation of the current Administration.
The upshot is that, of all the tomes on terrorism, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, radical Islam, the assault on America and the war on terror that have appeared in the past four years, only a few dozen merit serious consideration. The rest qualify as pulp non-fiction.
The serious works we do have help us in different ways. Some books are important because their contrarian views challenge us and make us think. Others are important simply because, for one reason or another, they have become popular and have thus shaped public debates. Still others are useful because they provide real data, enough in some cases to enable readers to make up their own minds. And thankfully, a few books provide genuine insight into the three issues that have consumed Americans, and of course many others, since 9/11: Who precisely is the enemy? What motivates him? What must be done to stop him?
Now a book, as is well understood, is only as useful as its reader is needful and attentive. Lay readers must take great care, for while they are liable to benefit from a serious book more than an expert, they are at the same time more vulnerable to misunderstanding. Those already familiar with the subject must guard their hopes, for there is nothing like a unified theory of the war on terror yet available. We may take some solace in the possibility that by the time we get such a true masterpiece, there will no longer be a practical need for it.
The Timely Three
Mercifully, there are some exceptions to the rule of ill-informed commentary published immediately after 9/11–three in particular. Peter Bergen, a journalist who met bin Laden before the terrorist became a household name, submitted the manuscript for Holy War, Inc. in August 2001 and then watched as the fears expressed in his book were realized. Bergen warned that the United States had a serious new enemy in bin Laden and al-Qaeda; that this wealthy and wily Saudi was motivated by a particular vision of jihad supported by fatwas from Pakistani and Afghan ulema; and that killing or capturing bin Laden, however useful, would not end the threat he posed. Each of these assertions was contested at the time, and some remain contested still. But in the autumn of 2001 many benefited from Bergen’s fortuitous timing, his common sense and his clear pen.
Bernard Lewis, emeritus professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University and the only genuine scholar among the three took up a different issue: the belief in the Islamic Middle East that Muslims and Islam had fallen from an earlier position of pre-eminence in the world. Lewis’ key point in What Went Wrong? (2002) is that Muslims have come to two radically different conclusions about what has caused their difficulties: Either Muslims had abandoned their religion and were suffering for it, or some outside power had interfered, destroying Islamic supremacy and ruining the entire region.
The solutions chosen by radical Islamist groups mirror these conclusions. Those who see the issue as an internal problem have focused on drawing fellow Muslims back to “true” Islam, either through peaceful persuasion or violence. Those who believe that the United States or a shadowy international Jewish conspiracy is responsible for Islam’s decline have chosen to direct their violence outward. For both sorts of radicals, but especially the latter, Lewis diagnoses that a lack of freedom and democracy has created the problems of the Muslim Middle East, and that the only reliable way to ensure against future radical violence is to open up these political cultures.
Like Bergen, Lewis was working on What Went Wrong? before 9/11. Unlike Bergen, Lewis had previously written many books on the Middle East over many decades, several of them acknowledged classics–such as The Arabs in History (1950) and The Political Language of Islam (1991). So for that reason serious analysts took special notice of Lewis’ prognosis. Unfortunately, in the emotional rush of the moment, Lewis’ views were oversimplified by many non-experts who assumed Lewis believed democratization in the Arab and Muslim world to be a rather straightforward task.
No one who actually knew Lewis’ oeuvre could believe such a thing. Lewis has often presented what he calls “the pro-Arab case” on democratization. The Arabs are not an empty vessel into which alien ideas can easily be poured; they are not a bunch of illiterate savages who, once taught to read and presented with the sacred texts of Western democracy, would shout “hamdilallah” and fall compliantly in line. Nor are their politics a caravan of unrelieved despotism over the centuries. The Arabs had ways of their own in politics, ways decayed and distorted in modern times but still linked organically to their own history. Lewis has argued that democracy is possible in the Arab world and that modern circumstances even lean in its favor, but that it would be a very hard and a very long process over which outsiders would have limited influence.
Then there is Ahmed Rashid, an intrepid Pakistani journalist whose book Taliban (2001) appeared just as the United States went to war in Afghanistan. Rashid details for Americans how these Islamic “students” came to power, whence they derived their particular form of Islam, and how their regime came to support Osama bin Laden. The timely appearance of Rashid’s book served to defend the U.S. decision to depose the Taliban, making the argument for Bush that no amount of diplomatic pressure (attempted and proven ineffective by Clinton) would have succeeded in dislodging bin Laden from their protection.
The Concept of Jihad
As the war against the Taliban progressed, Americans began to discuss the nature of the enemy and his motivation. “Why do they hate us?” was repeated throughout the winter of 2001 and 2002–there are now more than 133,000 hits for a Google search of the phrase. The first informed answers came from scholars who had dedicated their lives to the Middle East, Islam and religious radicalism.
Georgetown University Professor John Esposito’s Unholy War (2002) traces the radical jihadi roots of bin Laden and al-Qaeda, providing a brief introduction for non-specialists to the differences between Islam, Islamism (the revivalist version of Islam that believes religion requires political power) and jihadism (an extreme faction of Islamism that sees violence as the only way to seize that power). The book is not without controversy, especially Esposito’s twin arguments about what precisely jihad is and where jihadism fits within the broader scope of Islam.
Esposito–along with most tenured scholars in the Middle East studies community–claims that jihad means only an internal struggle to please God or, at the most, a defensive just war against aggression. This interpretation certainly has support within the sacred texts of Islam, and it is undoubtedly the definition of jihad accepted by the majority of Muslims today. However, this definition ignores both the traditional, more aggressive views of jihad and centuries of history in which such views were dominant. Jihadists have been adept at exploiting this tradition to win converts within the ulema and the rest of the Islamist community.
Esposito’s interpretation of jihad implies that the 9/11 attacks had nothing to do with Islam, and so must be blamed on some other cause. Malise Ruthven, a British scholar and writer, finds one of these “root causes’ for Islamic extremism in a general fundamentalist rejection of modernity. In A Fury for God (2002), Ruthven draws connections between Christian, Hindu and Muslim fanaticism, arguing that all were provoked by the uncertain identities created in modernizing societies and the resulting disjuncture between the traditional self of the village and the modern self invented in the city. However, Ruthven’s aim to unite all religious fanaticism into one theory of anti-modernism tends to elide the differences among fundamentalisms, while his focus on sociological explanations for the violence discounts the religious statements made by the jihadists themselves.
Another sociological interpretation dominates the work of the French scholar Olivier Roy, who likewise argues in Globalized Islam (2004) that jihadism has little to do with Islam and is instead mainly a product of the Muslim diaspora. Separated from their traditional communities, Muslims (especially in Western countries) have tried to “re-Islamicize” and thus have “re-created” a form of Islam, de-linked from culture, that in fact never existed. Meanwhile, Islamists in Muslim-majority countries have become more concerned with local problems, thus becoming, in Roy’s view, nationalists.
Roy’s interpretation is a useful corrective for those who cannot seem to take seriously the jihadi presence in western Europe. But Roy downplays the deep intellectual roots of jihadism, which many scholars have traced to the extremist thought of Abu A’la Mawdudi, Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb–and to the specific influences on bin Laden, such as ‘Abdullah ‘Azzam and Qutb’s brother Muhammad. None of these men was part of the Muslim diaspora. Roy also minimizes the universalist goals of “local” groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Wahhabis, Hizb ut-Tahrir and al-Qaeda, all of which seek to unify the Islamic world under their versions of Islam.
David Cook provides a completely different understanding of terrorist motivation, supporting the “culturalist” position that jihadism needs to be understood as part of a debate within Islam itself. In Understanding Jihad (2005) Cook, a professor of religious studies at Rice University argues that jihad-as-fighting is indeed deeply rooted in Islamic history. He connects the jihadi thought of the 13th-century religious scholar Ibn Taymiyya to the 20th-century revivalists, while noting two seminal differences between current jihads and those of past centuries. First, past jihads were declared by Caliphs; that is, they were state enterprises. Al-Qaeda and other 21st-century jihadists argue that without a Caliph–the Caliphate was disbanded in 1924 by the new Turkish Republic–every Muslim must fight the aggressor whenever possible. But this is an innovation not supported by Islam’s sacred texts. Second, the jihadists have taken exceptions in the traditional literature and made them rules; thus, they do not just reluctantly allow the killing of innocents, but actually commend it as a positive good.
Cook acknowledges that Muslims themselves define what jihad is, and that this definition can change over time to exclude warfare, an important point often ignored by those who blame Islam itself for terrorism. At the same time–depending on who has the money, the guns and the better rhetoric of the moment–the definition of jihad can revert to the traditional understanding, too. In the end, Islam is what Muslims say it is–which leads us directly to the next point of debate.
Is Islam Itself the Problem?
The most contentious books are those focused on defining who the enemy is, and the most contentious of these see Islam as the source of terrorism and jihadi violence. All such books have predictably provoked hostile responses from Western scholars of the Middle East as well as from Muslims around the world.
Probably the most controversial book was written by a non-Muslim, Robert Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch. Spencer’s vision of Islam in Onward Muslim Soldiers (2003) is particularly bleak. He assumes that the historical definition of jihad-as-fighting is the only correct one, ignoring the many ways in which Muslims have re-conceptualized this term throughout the centuries. Spencer also ignores modernist and Sufi forms of Islam, concentrating entirely on intolerant and violent variants. In his view of Islam, extremists like al-Banna, Qutb and Mawdudi held deeply traditional views of Islam; theirs were not radical syncretisms born of anxious contact with the West.
These are problematic views, to be sure, but Spencer is correct to argue that, while Muslims have been the victims of colonization and Westernization, they have not dealt honestly with their own history of imperialism against their neighbors. At least two Muslim writers have tried to rectify this shortcoming, and they have been brutal in going about it.
In The Trouble With Islam Today (2003), Irshad Manji, a Canadian Muslim reformer, issues a blistering attack on Islam as it is practiced by most Muslims today, blaming them for the intolerance that led to the 9/11 attacks, as well as for the poor treatment of women and homosexuals in Islamic countries. She believes that only an Islamic Reformation and a return to ijtihad, the use of reason, will bring Islam into the 21st century and promote a culture of pluralism and tolerance within Islamic countries. Tunisian writer and poet Abdelwahab Meddeb’s The Malady of Islam (2003) is even broader in its attack, targeting Islam itself, not just Muslim practice of it, as “sick” and Islamic civilization as “sterile.” He writes that the warlike, fanatical and intolerant side of Islam–like Wahhabism–has always existed side by side with the more uplifting, beautiful aspects of the culture. These two faces of Islam are, in his view, at war.
Meddeb’s focus on Wahhabism is echoed by many who have written about jihadi terrorism. The connection makes sense, since 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11, as well as Osama bin Laden himself, are products of Wahhabi Saudi Arabia. The best treatment of Wahhabism is Hamid Algar’s Wahhabism: A Critical Essay (2002). Here Algar, a professor of Persian and Islamic studies at Berkeley, traces the origins of this variety of Islam to the strict Hanbali school of Islamic law as interpreted by Ibn Taymiyya and Muhammad Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab. Wahhabism, Algar argues, owes its distinctiveness to two central ideas proposed by Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab: first, that tawhid (the fundamental Islamic belief that God is one and has no partners) means only God can make laws and can be worshiped; and second, that anyone who does not assent to this vision of tawhid is an unbeliever whose blood can be shed. Together, these two ideas ensured that Wahhabism developed into the most intolerant and violent version of Islam, providing the intellectual basis for what would later become jihadism.
Stephen Schwartz, executive director of the Washington-based Center for Islamic Pluralism, agrees in The Two Faces of Islam (2002) and contrasts Wahhabism with the “other face” of Islam–peaceful, pluralistic and tolerant–as represented by Sufism, Islamic Spain and the Ottoman Empire. Although Schwartz overstates the peacefulness of these three examples, he is right that there is a pluralistic model to challenge Wahhabism for the future of Islam. Schwartz shows as well that Wahhabism is the main sponsor of international ideological aggression against the West, not just the intellectual inspiration for the physical violence of jihadism.
For other writers the central problem is not Islam or the ideological underpinnings of jihad, but rather understanding how al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups work as organizations. The two authors who have done the most work on this issue, Marc Sageman and Rohan Gunaratna, take very different tacks in their attempts to peel back the mysteries surrounding terror groups.
Gunaratna, a researcher with the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews, interviewed 200 terrorists to explain the organization, tactics and strategies used by al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups. The resulting book, Inside Al Qaeda (2002), discounts entirely any connection between al-Qaeda and Islam, the use of which he portrays as mere propaganda designed to win followers. The most useful part of the book is Gunaratna’s detailing of al-Qaeda’s global network, which features precise descriptions of its cells and affiliated groups. In the end, Gunaratna argues that al-Qaeda is more of a threat to Muslims than to the West, and therefore the key to defeating it has to be an ideological struggle led by the Muslim elite against the jihadists.
Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist formerly employed by the CIA, is interested in how and why specific individuals join jihadi cells. He shows in Understanding Terror Networks (2004) that the most important factors are not poverty, lack of education or anger over specific policies–as common wisdom assumes–but rather “relative deprivation” (i.e., social isolation, spiritual emptiness and discrimination in the local country) coupled with social ties to established terrorists. The result is a loose network focused around specific “hubs”, the charismatic leaders who organize and socialize new members into the group. Sageman recommends taking out the hubs rather than trying to find all the individual members of a network. In one of his many prescient statements scattered throughout the book, Sageman warns, “Britain, which has traditionally acted as a sanctuary for many terrorists who were tried and sentenced in other countries, may be at great risk of terrorist attacks now that access to other targets is denied.”
All the books noted thus far blame bin Laden or some version of Islam for the terrorist attacks on the United States. As early as 2002, however, a different storyline began to emerge: Specific individuals or institutions in the United States were responsible for 9/11. As the 2004 presidential election season drew closer, this became an increasingly prolific genre.
For instance, Richard Miniter, an investigative reporter, says it all in the title of his book: Losing Bin Laden: How Bill Clinton’s Failures Unleashed Global Terror (2003). Miniter emphasizes that as President, Clinton was personally responsible for the failures of his Administration and the agencies under his control. Richard Clarke, in contrast, blames every administration but Clinton’s for 9/11. Clarke’s book, Against All Enemies (2004), created a minor storm by using recollections of top-level meetings to argue that the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush Administrations were responsible for allowing the attacks on America. The timing of its publication–during the election campaign–ensured it maximum exposure. It also ensured that the gaps in Clarke’s story, as well as his obvious animosity toward Condoleezza Rice (who as National Security Advisor demoted him from his lofty National Security Council perch and reduced his inhalation of presidential air) would not go unnoticed. Despite its problems, Clarke’s book is a tremendous read, with fascinating insider views on the great events in the war on terror.
Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon do far better with The Age of Sacred Terror (2002). As colleagues of Clarke at the NSC, these two men had a similar insider track to examine the workings of Clinton’s anti-terrorism efforts. Their conclusion is that Clarke is wrong: The Clinton Administration did not take al-Qaeda seriously until far later than Clarke admits–at least 1996. Even after Clinton began to focus on bin Laden, they show that he was unable to get any of the responsible agencies–the FBI, State, the CIA or the Pentagon–to deal effectively with the growing threat of jihadism. Overall, Benjamin and Simon present enough of a picture of Clinton Administration efforts to enable readers to make up their own minds about who (or what) should be held responsible for the failures of 9/11.
Apologias and Scorn for the War on Terror
The question of how to deal with the threats the United States now faces has also generated dozens of volumes. The wave of patriotism and national unity that followed 9/11 meant that for nearly two years there were few negative books published about Bush Administration policies in the war on terror. Yet even in 2002 William Bennett, former Secretary of Education and noted conservative author, anticipated a softening of support and wrote Why We Fight (2002) to stiffen American resolve. As with the eponymous film series that championed the war against fascism in 1943, Bennett justifies the war on terror as the only reasonable and moral answer to the jihadi terrorist threat. Unlike the World War II-era movies, however, Bennett sees the main enemies of the war as the Western intellectual elite, who equate American foreign policy with acts of terror, express objectively anti-Semitic views of Israel, and cloak antiwar arguments in moral terms to hide their hostility toward America. Jean Bethke Elshtain echoes Bennett’s basic argument in Just War Against Terror (2003). As her title suggests, Elshtain, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, believes that the war on terror is theologically justified, and she condemns the moral equivalency of Western intellectuals who liken U.S. foreign policy to terrorism.
Supporters of Bush Administration policies also had definite ideas about what the objectives of a just war should be. Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute argues in The War Against the Terror Masters (2002) that 9/11 happened because the United States lacked the will to fight the real sources of terror: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and Iran. Unless it takes on and defeats these tyrannical states, it will face still greater danger in the future. Ledeen’s prescription for winning the war is not limited to military force, however. He argues for distinct strategies to confront each of these threats, including a revolution from within to overthrow the mullahs of Iran. As for Iraq, he advocated an internal democratic revolt to depose Saddam.
Once the Iraq war began, criticism of Bush’s policies became far more widespread. Michael Scheuer, a CIA renegade writing as Anonymous, contends in Imperial Hubris (2004) that Bush has done absolutely everything wrong since 9/11. The result has been the alienation of Muslims around the world, dooming the U.S. war on terror in the long term. Scheuer’s solution, in essence, is appeasement. The United States, in his view, should acquiesce to the demands of Muslim critics: stop supporting Israel, withdraw entirely from the Middle East, end U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so on. Only thus can the United States regain the approval of the global Islamic community and avoid more terrorist attacks. Scheuer’s analysis is at times interesting and cogent, but his essential proposal to surrender American policy interests in the face of threats guaranteed that his book would be ignored by U.S. policymakers.
In The War for Muslim Minds (2004) Gilles Kepel, a prominent French analyst, supports Scheuer’s claim that the Bush Administration has failed miserably. Kepel sees the war on terror as having three main objectives: liquidating al-Qaeda and the Taliban, pressuring Saudi Arabia for reform and liberating Iraq from the Ba’athists once and for all. The United States, by mid-2004, had failed to achieve any of them. Kepel does not, however, agree with Scheuer’s recommended policy changes, instead predicting–not unlike Olivier Roy–that the true war for the hearts and minds of the Islamic world has shifted to Europe. This otherwise decent analysis is marred, however, by Kepel’s near obsession with supposed neoconservative conspiracies, his belief in the power of oil-minded Republicans to affect U.S. policy, and his limited vision of the past four years, which sees the war on terror as having achieved nothing but unbridled chaos.
Another sort of critique–that of the academic Left–is represented by Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi’s Resurrecting Empire (2004). Khalidi writes that the Iraq war is solely about the creation of an American empire, a goal the United States hopes to achieve by freeing itself from international conventions and by creating a series of military bases in Iraq to dominate the region and its oil. He dismisses as naive counterarguments about democratization as the reason for the war in Iraq, and uses as proof a 1996 memorandum by Douglas Feith (and other “neocons”) to Binyamin Netanyahu that discussed in an entirely realist manner how the Middle East had to be reshaped. Somehow, Khalidi completely missed the work done by Feith’s boss at the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz, throughout the 1980s and 1990s in support of democracy around the world. He also overlooks lengthy sections of Bush’s September 2002 National Security Strategy about the need to spread democracy to meet the challenge of jihadism. The result is a thesis that presents uncritically the worst possible view of U.S. foreign policy without offering anything to replace it.
In response to assessments such as these, former Bush Administration associates David Frum and Richard Perle wrote An End To Evil (2003) to remind Americans why the war in Iraq was being fought and to encourage them to stay the course. In their view, the war on terror is a struggle against a true evil that desires nothing less than the destruction of the United States, and thus “there is no middle way for Americans: It is victory or holocaust.” Like Ledeen, the authors recommend winning this necessary war by democratizing the tyrannical governments that oppress Muslims around the world. Iraq, they argue, can provide the “power of a good example” that will spread through the Middle East and beyond. The problems with their thesis (they seem to believe, for instance, that jihadi terrorism stems from Islam itself, not a particular interpretation of it) do not tarnish an otherwise sterling defense of the Iraq war.
Grand Strategic Visions
Beyond the nature of the enemy, why it attacked the United States and how it should be confronted, a handful of writers have addressed the larger question of how the war on terror fits into grand schemes of history and strategy. The first author to take on this challenge, the neoliberal writer Paul Berman, argues in Terror and Liberalism (2003) that jihadism is but another version of the totalitarian cults that swept through Europe in the 20th century. After a close reading of Sayyid Qutb’s seminal work (a 30-volume commentary on the Quran), Berman concludes that, like fascism and communism, jihadism is a death-cult that enthusiastically embraces suicide and slaughter–a cult that, moreover, defines itself explicitly in opposition to the freedom and individualism of liberalism. His answer to the worldwide struggle with jihadism is that “freedom for others means safety for ourselves. Let us be for the freedom of others.”
John Lewis Gaddis of Yale University agrees with this solution to the jihadi threat in Surprise, Security, and the American Experience (2004), and lays out a sophisticated argument in support of Bush’s grand strategy. Gaddis shows how the Bush National Security Strategy fits into the historical sweep of American foreign policy, demonstrating that the ideas of preemption, unilateralism and hegemony have always been at the core of U.S. strategic thought. The National Security Strategy adds another dimension to these traditions: spreading democracy and freedom to extend peace throughout the world. The Iraq war, Gaddis argues, is but part of this overall grand strategy, designed to spread democracy not just to that country but throughout the region, and to bring the Muslim Middle East once and for all into the modern era. As Gaddis notes, however, grandness does not guarantee success: The United States, he warns, has embarked on its greatest experiment in democratization since World War II, and there is no assurance it will succeed.
No doubt he is right, but what other choice do we have? Not one of many hundreds of books can answer that question.
Hamid Algar, Wahhabism: A Critical Essay (Oneonta, NY: Islamic Publications International, 2002).
Anonymous, Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror (Washington: Brassey’s, 2004).
Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam’s War Against America (New York: Random House, 2002).
William J. Bennett, Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism (New York: Doubleday, 2002).
Peter L. Bergen, Holy War, Inc: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden (New York: Free Press, 2001).
Paul Berman, Terror and Liberalism (New York: W.W. Norton, 2003).
Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror (New York: Free Press, 2003).
David Cook, Understanding Jihad (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2005).
Jean Bethke Elshtain, Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World (New York: Basic Books, 2003).
John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford, 2002).
David Frum and Richard Perle, An End To Evil: How to Win the War on Terror (New York: Random House, 2003).
John Lewis Gaddis, Surprise, Security, and the American Experience (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004).
Rohan Gunaratna, Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002).
Gilles Kepel, The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2004).
Rashid Khalidi, Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America’s Perilous Path in the Middle East (Boston: Beacon Press, 2004).
Michael A. Ledeen, The War Against the Terror Masters: Why It Happened. Where We Are Now. How We’ll Win. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002).
Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).
Irshad Manji, The Trouble With Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith (New York: St. Martin’s, 2003).
Abdelwahab Meddeb, The Malady of Islam (New York: Basic Books, 2003).
Richard Miniter, Losing Bin Laden: How Bill Clinton’s Failures Unleashed Global Terror (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2003).
Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001).
Olivier Roy, Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004).
Malise Ruthven, A Fury for God: The Islamist Attack on America (London: Granta Books, 2002).
Marc Sageman, Understanding Terror Networks (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2004).
Stephen Schwartz, The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa’ud from Tradition to Terror (New York: Doubleday, 2002).
Robert Spencer, Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2003).