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Publishers WeeklyTawil draws heavily from his extensive contacts within the Islamic militant world for his meticulously researched debut. The origins of al-Qa'ida, Tawil notes, lay not in George W. Bush and the War on Terror, but "in the Afghan quagmire of the 1980s and America's own support for the mujahidin in their conflict with Russia." Tamil extensively catalogs the various Islamic militant groups, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Algeria's Armed Islamic Group, and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and includes excerpts from interviews with their leaders that detail both the chilling philosophy and the ordinary concerns of militants; moments such as these are the most arresting element and will be of special interest to those familiar with the players and history. A flurry of names and facts and the omission of 9/11, however, renders Tawil's effort an unlikely choice for readers seeking an introductory-level text. Tawil is a journalist and reports with authority, but he is not a natural story-teller; despite the promised "story" of his subtitle, a desert-dry tone will have casual readers fighting to connect.
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