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Children of Jihad is Cohen's account of his travels in the Middle East. Written with candor and insight, Cohen's trip begins in Lebanon, where he interviews Hezbollah members at, of all places, a McDonald's. In Iran, he defies government threats and sneaks into underground parties, where bootleg liquor, Western music, and the Internet are all easy to access. His dangerous itinerary also takes him to a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, borderlands in Syria, the insurgency hotbed of Mosul, and other frontline locales. At each turn, he observes a paradoxical culture at an uncanny crossroads: Bedouin shepherds with satellite dishes that provide Western TV shows, young women wearing garish makeupdespite religious mandates, teenagers sending text messages and arranging illicit trysts. A gripping and essential read for understanding the evolving Middle East, Children of Jihad shows us the future through the eyes of those who are shaping it.
"Children of Jihad is a very smart, insightful account of a young Jewish- American (and rhodes scholar) trying to understand his generation across the line in the middle east.”
— Tom Brokaw, NBC Universal
"This young gutsy writer knows that the East-West struggle is being fought over the cafe tables of the Near and Middle East. Do the youth of the Islamic world dream of an engineering degree from Michigan State or a martyrs death? This young American has had the moxie to sit and listen for hours at those tables. In the words of the poet, Jared Cohen has taken the road "less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
—Chris Matthews, Host of MSNBC's Hardball and NBC's The Chris Matthews Show
"Jared Cohen has written a unique book. Imagine a young American circulating in the back alleys and cafes of Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Palestinian refugee camps, and Iraq meeting other youth on their terms and asking pointed questions about their aspirations, concerns and attitudes toward their rulers and toward the United States. There are breathtaking descriptions of flirting with danger and fascinating dialogues that provide deep insights into the politics and sociology of four key countries in the Middle East. It is a fascinating read which I recommend to anyone who wants to develop a better understanding of the [Middle East] and Arab world."
— Frank Carlucci, Former Secretary of Defense
"An enlightening and entertaining story that is part travelogue and part cultural analysis. Gaining insights through simple conversation, Cohen paints a compelling picture of the politically awakened youth of the Middle East."
—Zbigniew Brzezinski, Former National Security Advisor
"In this remarkable book Cohen provides a fresh perspective on the Middle East. Seen through the eyes of the youth, and poignantly describing their hopes and despairs, Cohen provides a timely commentary on the troubled relations between America and the Middle East. Looking at the habits and passions that binds the youth across the cultural divide as well as the politics that which divides them this book provides much food for thought for Americans and Middle Easterners alike."
—Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam will Shape the Future
"Children of Jihad succeeds at breaking down some inaccurate generalizations and replacing them with more accurate generalizations, and it does a good job of humanizing Middle Eastern youth by telling their individual stories"
"An important book to read."
— Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC Morning Joe
"I admire Jared Cohen's courage, vigor and insight. He has been a wonderful source of information and understanding about Iran, particularly youth attitudes and ideals. His advice is helpful in fostering better relations, better public diplomacy and progress toward greater democratic freedoms and openness in Iran."
—Senator Richard Lugar, Ranking Member on Senate Foreign Relations Committee
“Cohen’s chronicle is fine fieldwork for students of the Middle East”
1 Destination Iran 9
2 Removing the Shackles 30
3 Democracy after Dark 49
4 Nuclear Pride 73
5 "Death to America" 85
6 The Calm Before the Storm 108
7 The All-Night "Party of God" 137
8 Struggling for Dignity 156
9 Babies in the Ba'ath Party 177
10 The Road to Mesopotamia 203
11 Iraqis Who Like Us 224
12 Waking Up in the Insurgency 252
Epilogue: The Youth Party 266
Posted December 11, 2009
Jared Cohen was young when he wrote this, and so can be forgiven some of his more obnoxious asides, but I grew to appreciate his relentless inquisitiveness on political issues, and to appreciate the almost verbatim conversations. Obviously he took the time to make notes shortly after his encounters, so as to remember clearly. I believe the transcriptions are largely true, judging from the ordinariness of most of the responses to his questions. I came to appreciate his eye, as he grew in knowledge as the trip progressed. I see the value in the trip and the writing of it. I think one of the most astonishing revelations for me was the outrageous behaviors of Iranian youth, despite the overhang of the oppressive government we are used to seeing. In addition, the satellite receivers that the desert Bedouin of Syria use was a revelation. These folks don't seem so remote, and I'm sure we don't seem so remote to them, either. Now, if we can just hook up Afghanistan so that they can watch "Office" if they want.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Jared Cohen makes it seem like arabs have no freedom especially the children of Jihad muslim-arab people such as myself are happy of their way of lives. We are fine with wearing hijabs or covering up all over there is no reason to show anything f ourselves so w are fine with what the Qur'an says about how we should ive our lives. Mr. Cohen interviews children of Iran which they themselves dont consider themselves arab so what does Iranian kids have to do with Arab culture. In reality in Middle east we follow the Qur'an and Islamic laws. Children do have the ability to play games hangout with same-sex fiends and to live a normal muslim arab life. Which i obviously different than American way of life or adults and children. I think an Arab who knows their religion and culture should write a book about the same thing and truthful facts!!!
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Posted August 29, 2008
Children of Jihad is an enlightening book that gives us hope for America's relationship with the Middle East. The author shows infinite possibilities to bridge the gap between the youths of both America and the Middle East. Similarities between two are as shocking. Moreover, the guts the author demonstrates during his adventure are impressive! This book presents realistic opportunities both groups can take advantage of to shift the views of one another. I highly recommend this book! It's a page turner!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 18, 2007
Cohen in his brilliant book dives into an oft-misunderstood cross section of society, walking an untrodden path through the hopes and fears of this critically-important segment of the world. A must-read book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 13, 2009
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