View on Amazon

[Cross-posted in New Books in National SecurityAlex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn‘s An Enemy We Created: The Myth of the Taliban/Al Qaeda Merger in Afghanistan, 1970-2010 (Oxford University Press, reprint edition 2014) offers what is in many ways is an untold, insider’s account of the birth of the Taliban and Al Qaeda during the anti-Soviet jihad, and their subsequent cooperation (or indeed lack thereof) in the pre- and post-9/11 world. By living first in Kabul, and then Kandahar, Afghanistan, the authors gained more privileged access to individuals involved with Afghan history in the 1980s-2000s than perhaps anyone outside of Western intelligence agencies. By speaking with Taliban officials — indeed Van Linschoten and Kuehn’s previous project was editing the memoirs of Taliban senior official Abdul Salam Zaeef – and former “Afghan Arabs”, the authors enriched their research immensely. The result shows in the final product: a nuanced, deeply layered, and meticulously investigative look at a fascinating subject. An Enemy We Created should be seen as paradigmatic for future research on militant organizations, and offers up an immense challenge to those experts who would seek to write on such topics from the comfort of Western armchairs.”

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Charles MirandaDeception: The True Story of the International Drug Plot that Brought Down Australia’s Top Law Enforcer Mark Standen

February 13, 2015

Mark Standen was a hero to drug enforcement police. Not only was he a great guy but he was an extremely effective police officer. Unfortunately, he also became a partner in the illicit drug industry. Deception is a book that tells the story of how Standen turned to the dark side and how the Australian […]

Read the full article →

Jacob N. ShapiroThe Terrorist’s Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations

November 27, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in National Security] Jacob N. Shapiro‘s The Terrorist’s Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations (Princeton University Press, 2013) is a welcome addition to a field that sometimes depicts terrorist activity as an unfamiliar, idiosyncratic phenomenon. Shapiro convincingly argues that, far from being alien to our everyday experience, many terrorist organizations must necessarily deal with the bureaucracy, infighting, and […]

Read the full article →

Vahid Brown and Don RasslerFountainhead of Jihad: The Haqqani Nexus, 1973-2012

November 14, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in National Security] Vahid Brown and Don Rassler‘s Fountainhead of Jihad: The Haqqani Nexus, 1973-2012 (Oxford University Press, 2013) is a meticulously researched and remarkably detailed exposition of the Haqqani network’s growth and ongoing importance among Pakistani militant organizations. Beginning with an expansive history of the Haqqani family’s background, and subsequent emergence as a critical lynchpin in […]

Read the full article →

James MartinDrugs on the Dark Net: How Cryptomarkets are Transforming the Global Trade in Illicit Drugs

October 9, 2014

I am old enough to realise that we have entered a science fiction world in which the old systems of the market place are being sidestepped by new technology. We who follow the tried and true methods are missing out of the brave new world. The changes are particularly true for the middle men whose […]

Read the full article →

Donald HolbrookThe Al-Qaeda Doctrine: The Framing and Evolution of the Leadership’s Public Discourse

October 3, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in National Security] Donald Holbrook‘s The Al-Qaeda Doctrine: The Framing and Evolution of the Leadership’s Public Discourse (Bloomsbury, 2014) represents a significant scholarly contribution to the study of Al-Qaeda and Islamic terrorism more broadly. Through a remarkably exhaustive, longitudinal study of over 260 public statements from Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, Dr. Holbrook exposes Al-Qaeda’s […]

Read the full article →

Robert LombardoOrganized Crime in Chicago: Beyond the Mafia

September 8, 2014

Chicago would be one of the first places that people think of when the topic of organized crime is raised. Al Capone made the city famous during prohibition. I have done the Gangster bus tour in Chicago which focuses entirely on that period in history. In Organized Crime in Chicago: Beyond the Mafia (University of […]

Read the full article →

Mark MazzettiThe Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth

August 8, 2014

There are many movies about evil CIA agents assassinating supposed enemies of the US. Those who saw the latest Captain America movie will have witnessed the plan by Hydra (a fascist faction within a secret agency presumably within the CIA) build floating gunships that can identify and eliminate those who pose a threat to national […]

Read the full article →

John DickieMafia Republic: Italy’s Criminal Curse. Cosa Nostra, ‘Ndrangheta and Camorra from 1946 to the Present

July 1, 2014

Mafia Republic: Italy’s Criminal Curse (Sceptre, 2013) is the second book by John Dickie on the history of the three organised crime groups from Southern Italy: the Sicilian Mafia or Cosa Nostra, the ‘Ndrangheta from Calabria and the Camorra from Naples. Dickie has an advantage over other researchers in organized crime by being able to read […]

Read the full article →

Michael SalterOrganised Sexual Abuse

May 7, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Book in Sociology] Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how certain types of violence can occur, and organized multi-perpetrator abuse certainly fits into this category.  Ritual abuse, sadistic abuse and pedophilia rings are often things we see in episodes of “Law and Order,” without having to think of the reality of the victims that actually […]

Read the full article →