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Don't Panic: ISIS, Terror and Today's Middle East
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Don't Panic: ISIS, Terror and Today's Middle East

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  164 ratings  ·  23 reviews
It took a quarter-century of bad strategy, including more than a dozen years of Western air attacks and invasions in the Middle East, to bring the so-called "Islamic State" into existence. Can we somehow manage to avoid the well-trodden path of overreacting to the provocations of Islamist extremists?

With the rise of ISIS, a new style of terrorism that publicly gloats over
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by Random House Canada
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Will Ansbacher
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A short, illuminating, book from a journalist who has more insight into the Middle East than most political commentators. It’s not a lot longer than a review article, but packed with useful history of the area and the rise of fundamentalism and terror attacks.
What to do about it? Well, nothing really, Dyer argues, as the Western nations aren’t the primary target here. Terror is designed to goad the West into invading wherever ISIS wants to take control in the aftermath of the mayhem that invasi
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Dale White
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It is hard to rate a book on a topic that so few of us truly understand, but I am giving Dwyer the benefit of the doubt here based on his reputation and assume that much of what he says is grounded in truth and logic.

I picked the book up a couple of days before the attack on Paris but read it after the attacks. It becomes somewhat difficult to not panic after those events but Dwyer makes the case that we have to respond to this terror cautiously. After 9/11, the response in Afghanistan was measu
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Mohamed Al Sayyah
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
كتاب ممتاز وموضوعي عن ظاهرة الدولة الإسلامية (داعش) بدءاً من أسباب ظهورها وانشقاقها عن القاعدة مروراً بتمددها وسيطرتها على مساحات شاسعة من العراق وسورياً انتهاءاً بمقترحات لكيفية القضاء عليها.
Charles
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Malcolm Pellettier
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wildly informative, and rather terrifying (despite the title)

Never really occurred to me that Al Qaeda and IS are both playing from the 19th century Anarchists' playbook, virtually note for note, which is all well and good until you remember that it might've been an anarchist who started WWI (archduke Ferdi, Gavrillo Princip) though he may've just been a Serb Nationlist.

Given what just happened tonight - and do recall that the Charlie Hebdo massacres were carried by Yemeni AlQaeda/IS sympathizer
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Dorothy
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Gwynne Dyer is a brilliant journalist with a Ph.D in Middle East History so that when he writes about terrorism stemming from that part of the world, we do well to listen. Dyer explains the growth of terrorist groups and what it is they want from the world and why is it that they are killing each other because of differences of religion. A must-read for anyone who wants to know what is going on there and why the West should not be trapped into interfering.
Phoenix
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-east, politics
Mostly Harmless?

This review is from: Don't Panic: ISIS, Terror and Today's Middle East (Paperback)
Canadian journalist Gwynne Dyer provides a well done sweeping analysis of the progression from Al Queda to the Islamic State along with a breakdown on the major players, mistakes and options going forward. The approach is really a journalistic summary well suited for people are concerned about the future of American involvement in the region. As part of the downside – the supporting footnotes are s
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Roberta
This was a neighbourhood book club read. It's well researched, accessible, timely and well written and stimulated a good discussion. My problem with it was that it is it very fact dense with no real narrative to hold it all together in my mind. I kept forgetting who the players were and finally had to create a story line of my own. It was refreshing to discover that the West is not the main thing on Muslim minds.
Frances
Feb 06, 2020 rated it liked it
A little out of date now this book does give you the background into that is happening in the Middle East and some who's who.
Charles
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was hard to read because it's such, such a great book. Each page contains fascinating information so you can't help but want to stop and process what you just read, but at the same time his writing style is so readable and seamless, that you don't want to stop. It would have been a quick read if I didn't constantly feel like I needed to stop and take (I counted, 25 pages of) notes for fear of forgetting what I'd read after returning the book to the library.
Rob Hocking
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lot of overlap with black flags, but interestingly the two accounts contradict one another in a few places. Also, Black Flags seems to present the regime in Turkey in quite a positive light, whereas this book is not so kind.
Adam
Apr 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, far-corners
Dyer's best book since Climate Wars.

Sadly a little too relevant given yesterday's attacks in Paris. But Dyer does a brilliant job of explaining the often complicated history and motivations of the various Islamist sects. Most of the book focuses on the differences between al Qaeda and ISIS. Al Qaeda, Dyer argues, are fanatics who live in the world of history, and are less likely to attack other Muslims, whereas Islamic State has an explicit millenarian ideology and tend to be far more intereste
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Matthew Williams
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
As always, Dyer provides a detailed and thorough summations of the forces currently affecting the Middle East, offering historical context and commentary that puts it in perspective. He also offers some sobering thoughts on the role western nations play in it that goes far beyond the usual rhetoric or finger pointing that is so common in today's world. And last, but not least, he also provides some helpful thoughts on how western nations can address the situation created by the rise of the Islam ...more
Alicia Low
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
I picked this up to read because I wanted to understand the situation in the Middle East, and its implications for Muslims around the world (especially in Malaysia). Does the book do a good job explaining things? I think so. I remain confused, but I think that has less to do with the quality of the book and more to do with the manymany different considerations involved. I just can't get everything straight, in my head, because it's messy. It's terrifying. I don't know what to believe, in terms o ...more
Jim Hestand
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is an excellent primer for understanding the current situation in the middle east. The author gives a chronological overview of the development of ISIS and its reason for being. He summarizes fundamentalist Islam's eschatology and how it drives the actions of Islamic State. He also gives his analysis of the world's response to these events and recommendations for future policy to deal with the current chaotic situation. It is easy to read and very interesting and I highly recommend it ...more
Mahyar
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A great read (as always!) from the Canadian war journalist and historian Gwynn Dyer. He gives a clear-headed view on the escalating conflict in the middle east and its origins, without resorting to tin-hat conspiracy theories or apocoloyptic hyperbole. He focuses on the historical/ethnical/political underpinnings of the conflicts and gives an overview of their development in the past 20 years. A must-read for anyone who wants a better understanding of the Middle East, one that can't be obtained ...more
JonRaven
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you read any book on ISIS, read THIS one! This is a short read. It is written in such a way that the complexities of the middle east make far more sense. This book assumes you know little to nothing, which is great because most books require some foreknowledge to grasp. You dont get hung up on acronyms or complex jargon. I must say it was in engaging and enlightening read. Everyone should read this before making any assumptions about what they think is going on in the middle east.
Winterwarrior99
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent summary of the history and current (late 2015) positioning of Al Qaeda and IS. Various Western government positions and tactics reviewed and potential scenarios presented.
As a person with some (evening news) knowledge of the area, this book greatly expanded my understanding of the difficulties and why the present is what it is.
At 209 pages, the book provides interesting insight and is well worth the time.
Rory
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Truly excellent primer on ISIS and the events in Iraq and Syria, prior to, during and following the American occupation of Iraq. Really gives a good sense of what's going on, why, and how much of a big deal it really is, or is not, while also giving some insight into the political plays going on. Definitely recommend.
Raimo Wirkkala
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Dyer offers an educational history of how we've arrived at the current sorry state of affairs in the Middle East and concludes by offering up a distasteful but well-reasoned course of action. Anyone struggling to understand what ISIS really means to our world will find this book helpful.
Tony Latour
Feb 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mostly collects and elaborates on the columns he has written over the years about the current situation in the Middle East with regard to ISIS. It is always good to have some clear-headed analysis of the situation there and I thought the book provided that nicely.
Sheri Robinson
Apr 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Gwynne Dyer explains world events and actions like no one else can. If you are interested in a deeper understanding of what is happening in the middle east and the history behind it, this is the book for you!
Les
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Typically calm and cogent analysis; worth reading if you are somehow under the impression that western intervention in the Syrian civil war somehow makes sense.
Alex
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Liam Ralph
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Dec 27, 2016
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Gwynne Dyer, OC is a London-based independent Canadian journalist, syndicated columnist and military historian.

Dyer was born in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador (then the Dominion of Newfoundland) and joined the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve at the age of sixteen. While still in the naval reserve, he obtained a BA in history from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1963; an MA in military h
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Kate Stayman-London has watched the reality dating show The Bachelor (and its eventual Bachelorette spin-off) since it first started airing in 2002...
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“If there was no American prison in Iraq, there would be no Islamic State now.” 1 likes
“There’s not much risk that it will conquer Iraq’s Shia-majority region or Kurdistan, now that the first shock of its expansion up to their borders has passed, for both could count on strong Iranian military support if required. Syria is a more worrisome case, for a jihadi victory in Syria would bring Islamic State (and, in the north, perhaps also the Nusra emirate) right up to the borders of Lebanon and northern Israel. Millions more refugees would pour across the borders into Lebanon and Jordan (which have already taken in several million Syrian refugees), possibly with Islamist fighters in hot pursuit. This would create a high probability of a direct military confrontation with Israel, even if the Islamists would really prefer to concentrate on killing Shias first.” 0 likes
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