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Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  178 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
In the post-September 11 world, Al Qaeda is no longer the central organizing force that aids or authorizes terrorist attacks or recruits terrorists. It is now more a source of inspiration for terrorist acts carried out by independent local groups that have branded themselves with the Al Qaeda name. Building on his previous groundbreaking work on the Al Qaeda network, foren ...more
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published January 3rd 2008 by University of Pennsylvania Press (first published December 3rd 2007)
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Biju P.R.
I read if for a chapter on my forthcoming book Lovescape. Nice book that give me lots of information regarding the various manifestations of Jihad. how jihad occurs and what are its linkages and how it operates in a the twenty first century particularly in an age where networks are more important for any activity, this book is a good read. yo ucan see how terror operates in techno rich networked world here in this book. my chapter love jihad immensely benefited from it.
Nov 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
While insightful, this book is a little disorganized, so it is difficult to extract the nuggets it contains. Sageman is a much better public speaker. Having heard him speak before was very helpful.

Rapoport's four waves of terrorism (32):
Left wing radicalism

Religous terrorism can also be divided into three waves:
First wave - upper/middle class, fought Soviets in Afghanistan, older, often criminal records for political activity (48-9,62)
Second wave - inspired by fi
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
MAJOR DISCLAIMER: I'm the publicist for this book and while I've never used GoodReads as a marketing venue, I wanted to bring this particular book to your attention. It's very politically provocative and has been getting a lot of recent media attention (see David Ignatius's op-ed in yesterday's Washington Post, followed by James Fallows' and Andrew Sullivan's responses at Not bad for a university press book. Sageman's thesis is that Al-Qaeda is no longer the unifying force it o ...more
Nov 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Interesting book, important contribution towards terrorism studies and definitely worth a read. Only three stars because Sageman does a couple things here that irritate me. In his defense, I'm easily irritable :)

1) Sageman begins the book with a discussion about how we rely on anecdotes and focus on the individual to explain the root causes of terrorism. He and I both believe that this is misguided. Sageman favors a more scientific approach to the study of terror networks. He then goes on to pro
Dharma Agastia
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read this for a counter-terrorism class. Sageman's updated "terror network" is relevant to the new trends in radicalisation.
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
As someone who isn't in the field of psychology or anti-terrorism, this was an interesting read. The author does a good job of breaking down the different waves of modern Islamic terrorism, and highlighting what does and does not drive some people to terrorism but not others.

However, the book falls apart about halfway through. The premise still stands throughout, but the reasoning is jumbled and all over the place as the book goes on. By the time you get to the conclusion it's like reading a st
There is quite a lot I do not agree with. The description of how Europe's social infrastructure leads to the indirect funding of terrorism (through financial resources from welfare and time that people have on their hands because they - as the author describes - do not need to work for a living like in the US) does not at all make sense to me. In my opinion the author glorifies the US political system and presents European countries in a light that does not reflect my own experiences.

There are
Jun 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
A must-read book for anyone who is interested in the evolution of terrorism. The author studied every western terrorism event since the first world trade center bombing. He also delved deeply into the background of each terrorist arrested for these events. He dispels the common myths that terrorists are poor (most are middle class), religiously brainwashed (most lack even a fundamental understanding of their own religion and 2/3 are secular), doing it for sex and the 72 virgins (most are married ...more
Richard Schneider
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Provides valuable insight into self-radicalization. Critics say it is weak on terrorist organization and recruitment power.

Bruce Hoffman offers the counter view - that terrorism is alive and well, organized, and well-financed.

Our policy probably needs to be based on a combination of both the Sageman and Hoffman.

Sageman's book, however, will help interpret what you hear/see on the nightly news, or read in what's left of print journalism -- most of which is wrong.

I am considering dealing with this
Apr 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book follows up on Sageman's earlier work on modern-day terrorism. It begins with the author's methodology and his defense of that methodology. It then briefly covers the material the author discussed in his earlier work. Then, it moves on to the central thesis of the book, namely, that jihadist organizations are currently decentralized groups of cells that are not tied together by any overarching leadership structure. Sageman believes the internet is now being used to both radicalize young ...more
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: al-qaeda, jihad
The basic argument of this book is that al-Qaeda is both a social network and an actual organization, however the organization (what he calls 'al-Qaeda central') has limited ability to assert control over the broader movement. As a result of this, al-Qaeda is now a 'leaderless jihad' in that small groups and cells form around the world and pursue al-Qaeda Central's aims and ideology, however do not have any real connection to the centre, while the centre is highly limited in its ability to asser ...more
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Again, read this for a class on understanding and disrupting terrorist cells. Sageman is probably the best counter-terrorism analyst out there right now. He brings to light the current state of jihadist groups like Al Qaeda, their socioeconomic background, their psychological state, etc. through a three-level analytical framework geared at determining reasons for radicalization at a micro, macro, and mid-level range. We see here how essential the group dynamic really is in radicalization.
Jason Sands
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is one of the few books to approach terrorism from a social science point of view, and I appreciate that. Unfortunately, many of his recommendations have no chance of being implemented in the real world.
Yusuf  Agah
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Full of information. Easy to read. I strongly recommend this book for those who are interested in terrorism topic.
Jun 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Great history of the Middle East and their psychology.
Stefan Martiyan
Nov 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
intriguing book -- guts the beast of common misconception surrounding terrorists in today's era.
S2 Mc
May 13, 2015 added it
Shelves: world-current
Would welcome an update to this 2008 edition and his theories on radicalization.
Jan 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting perspective on terrorism, although it contains far too many gross generalizations for my taste.
Jake Oelrichs
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This guy was way ahead of his time in understanding homegrown terrorism. These lessons still hold today.
Maureen Flatley
Apr 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Forget Bin Laden.....the real danger is everywhere. Very sobering, thought provoking, important read.
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Sep 09, 2008
Makenna Held
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Mark Dyer
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Jan 12, 2015
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Mar 19, 2008
Brendan McSherry
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Nov 11, 2015
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