Preface to the Paperback Edition ix Acknowledgments xv Introduction: Down the Rabbit Hole and into the History of ISIS 1 1 The World According to ISIS 23 2 Where ISIS Came From: Zarqawi to Baghdadi 50 3 How Broken Iraqi Politics Fueled the Revival of ISIS 98 4 Baghdadi's Evolution: From Invisible to Infamous 129 5 Baathists and ISIS Jihadists: Who Converted Whom? 144 6 How the Syrian War Empowered ISIS 170 7 Misappropriating the Arab Spring Uprisings 202 8 ISIS versus Al Qaeda: Redefining Jihad and the Transition from the Global to the Local 222 Conclusion: The Future of ISIS 260 Notes 295 Index 353
Fawaz A. Gerges is professor of international relations and Emirates Professor in Contemporary Middle East Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His many books include The New Middle East, Obama and the Middle East, and The Far Enemy. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Foreign Affairs, and other publications.
2017 Gold Medal Winner in Current Events (Political/Economic/Foreign Affairs), Independent Publisher Book Awards A CNN Fareed Zakaria GPS Book of the Week, August 7, 2016 One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2016 One of Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Books of 2016 in Current Affairs Honorable Mention for the 2017 PROSE Award in Government and Politics, Association of American Publishers "Well-researched and lucidly argued."--Malise Ruthven, New York Review of Books "A specific, timely, well-rendered exegesis of the unfolding global threat."--Kirkus (starred review) "This timely history gives a clear-sighted account of the ascent of the so-called Islamic State (IS)--one with far-reaching implications. The book's findings and conclusions have profound relevance... Written and edited with pellucid clarity, ISIS: A History is an important book that will have broad appeal."--Chris Harmer, LSE Review of Books "[Written] with energy and clarity, and out of uncommonly extensive knowledge."--Robert Fulford, National Post "[Gerges's] argument is all at once persuasive, deeply depressing, yet hopeful."--Daniel Flitton, Sydney Morning Herald "Perhaps the most informative, clearly expressed, sober book on the subject."--William Armstrong, Hurriyet Daily News "[Gerges's] book is one of the most coherent, comprehensive and persuasive histories of ISIS to date and deserves to be widely read."--Richard Cockett, Literary Review "[The book's] strength stems from the sheer breadth of the survey offered by Gerges."--Shiraz Maher, New Statesman "Gerges is clear, and it is here that the book excels, that Isis cannot be explained in isolation but must be examined in the larger sociopolitical context in which it emerged... ISIS: A History makes a welcome contribution to the debate, and will be of interest to both general readers and specialists."--Christina Hellmich, Times Higher Education "This is quite simply the definitive book on the group by a very smart, well-informed guide to the region, superbly researched, well-written and intelligent throughout. Everyone opining about ISIS should be required to read this book first."--Fareed Zakaria, CNN Global Public Square "The achievement of Fawaz Gerges... in his compelling, insightful book is to highlight the social and sectarian pressures that led so many Iraqi and Syrian Sunnis to turn to Isis as protectors."--Michael Burleigh, Times "Terrific."--Michael Brull, New Matilda "This is a comprehensive account of how ISIS emerged in the Middle East, triggered by the US invasion of Iraq, Syria's civil war, the collapse of the Arab Spring, and sectarian Sunni-Shi'a struggles. Gerges systematically details the complex social and political dynamics leading to ISIS's prominence among the Salafi-jihadist family of rivals... This authoritative, empirically rich study based on primary Arabic sources should be must reading for policy makers, strategists, scholars, journalists, students, and anyone seriously concerned about the human condition."--Choice "Gerges has made an important contribution to the burgeoning literature on ISIS."--Michael Degerald, Middle East Policy "This hugely important study is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the powerful political, sectarian and religious forces currently convulsing the Arab Middle East."--P. D. Smith, The Guardian