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The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam's War Against America

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  202 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Winner of the 2004 Arthur Ross Book Award from the Council on Foreign Relations

From two of the world’s foremost experts on the new terrorism comes the definitive book on the rise of al-Qaeda and America’s efforts to combat the most innovative and dangerous terrorist group ever. Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon trace the growth of radical Islam from its medieval origins and
Paperback, 560 pages
Published October 14th 2003 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2002)
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Sep 14, 2012 Jerome rated it really liked it
Interesting and easy to read. Many books I've read cite this, and the authors worked for Richard Clarke, whose memoir Against All Enemies I've read.

The first half is a crisp, brisk read jammed with vital detail on the history behind radical Islamism. That history, from the Crusades to the Balfour declaration, is ever present before the minds' eye of the terrorists, so it behooves us to know it. These are guys who know how to put together an executive summary. Without a word wasted on horrified e
Feb 12, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had previously read portions of this as part of a Homeland Security course many years ago.

This book provides the fascinating backstory for the origins of many of today's terrorist movements. At nearly 18 hours, be prepared for a long 'read.'
Sep 22, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it
Very good overview of what factors have created the current error of Islamic terrorism. The authors focus primarily on Islamic terrorism but also branch off into other religions and states to show their influence on each other. The authors also convincingly illustrate how this era has been created not just by the the US and its allies but by the middle eastern nations as well. The blame is spread all around as the reader is guided through the history of Islamic based terror.
Aug 17, 2012 Greg rated it liked it
This book is now dated. So much has happened: the invasion of Iraq, the killing of Bin Laden, etc. I can't give it a stellar review because some aspects are very good and others are amateur. The authors lack an understanding and a sensitivity to religion and an understanding of anthropology, so their roots of Islamic terrorism is superficial, as is their final chapter about other violent religious movements. They don't know the difference between messianism and millenarianism. These criticisms a ...more
Alex Connolly
Sep 28, 2015 Alex Connolly rated it really liked it
Very informative
May 01, 2009 Katie rated it really liked it
Age of Sacred Terror analyzes the connections between radical Islam, terrorism and the “war on terror” as conducted by the United States. Benjamin and Simon centrally position jihad in their analysis of the implications of the rise of radical Islam on the United States. Their argument on jihad traces jihads historical path, its manifestations in recent decades, and its implications on foreign relations, specifically relations between the United States and Muslim countries.
Will Byrnes
There is a lot of history in this dense volume, tracing the roots of Islamic terrorism back many centuries. It deals with other types of terrorism as well. Although I found it interesting, I did not feel an uncontrollable urge to return to it all that much, which accounts, in addition to its length, to the fact that it took me a month to read it.
Apr 27, 2010 Carol rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent recounting of the birth of Al Qaeda and Al Quaeda's message and how it relates to Muslims. In this case, the history is much more strange than any fictional account could be. It is well researched and documented.
It really helps to read this book to understand what is going on with Al Quaeda.
I reccomend this book to everyone.
Jun 30, 2007 Gabe rated it really liked it
This is a good book for people interested in international relations. It explains the rise of al-Qaeda and radical Islam and provides interesting background from authors who worked for the National Security Council. It is a little biased at times but provides insight into the forces that shape our world.
Dec 11, 2008 Carmine rated it really liked it
Very good (although dated) book on the philosophy of the internaitonal jihadi movement -- does a good though not always convincing job of connecting it with similar movements from other religions in different eras. A similar book, just as good, is The Looming Tower.
There is and was a lot I do/did not know about Radical Islam. This book has encouraged me to do more reading on the topic and become more culturally aware of the Middle East and its peoples and thier various faiths.
Jan 15, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
A good overview on the origins of al-Qaeda and Islamic militancy. It tries to address other forms of religious terrorism, but doesn't go very far, and it's already somewhat out of date, since it was published in 2003.
David Carroll
Sep 01, 2012 David Carroll rated it really liked it
Great historical, cited, context of why the Jihadist movement is what it is. Shows the roles of mullahs, politicos, and warriors and why this is really about haves and have nots and always will be.....
Jul 29, 2008 Bernie rated it liked it
The first couple hundred pages took a long time to read since they described the beginnings of Islam, but wasn't too bad.
J.R. Ortiz
May 18, 2012 J.R. Ortiz rated it really liked it
great read,very interesting
Mar 14, 2013 PWRL marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-new
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