Ashley's Reviews > Terrorists in Love: The Real Lives of Islamic Radicals

Terrorists in Love by Ken Ballen
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's review
May 24, 12

bookshelves: first-reads, non-fiction
Read from February 06 to 14, 2012

**I received my copy thanks to goodreads' first reads.** In Terrorists in Love, Ken Ballen, a Jewish, American, former federal prosecutor leverages his relationships with journalists, clerics and others in order to get close to six Islamic jihadis. Each interviewee comes from a different background, and has a different reason for engaging in terrorist activities. Surprising, for most of them, it has very little to do with America-it starts with anger at a family member, the loss of a loved one to unfair traditions, or the desire to be accepted-and Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders offer an appealing outlet for frustration, and an easy target.

I remain shocked by Ballen's success with this project. While some of the men he interviews are more wayward and confused boys than diabolical sociopaths, there is no doubt that several of the people he talked to would easily wish him dead. Yet, somehow, an American who once prosecuted terrorists and is Jewish to boot, is able to gain the trust and confidence of these individuals. It was thrilling to get a glimpse inside the minds of these men, but it revealed a terrifying truth: there is no one reason why people turn to terrorism, there are a million. And that truth means that there is not just one way to stop it, we will need a million. But if a man like Ken Ballen-who represents all that Islamic terrorist allegedly hate- can not only survive his encounters, but walk away as friends, then perhaps there is hope after all.
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