September 11, 2001. In a matter of a few minutes the world as we knew it changed. Terror and violence, blood and warfare have always been a part of human history. Yet on this day, nine years ago, the spectre of violence entered the living rooms of millions of viewers across the globe and lodged itself firmly in their hearts and minds. Words like Islamic terrorism, War on Terror, Al Qaeda, collateral damage became common currency. Here are some books that try to explain the events of September 11 and how it changed our world. We have made a conscious attempt to include books from a variety of perspectives: from the Israeli scholar to the Palestinian activist, from the “We hate war” protesters to the “let’s destroy them” supporters of war, we have tried to cover all the voices clamouring to be heard.
The 9/11 Commission Report:Final report of the National Commission on terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: In November 2002 the United States Congress and President George W. Bush established by law the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission comprising of 5 Republicans and 5 Democrats. This independent panel was directed to examine the facts and circumstances surrounding the September 11 attacks, identify lessons learned, and provide recommendations to safeguard against future acts of terrorism. This volume is the authorized edition of the Commission’s final report and contains recommendations like supporting Musharraf, attempting to win the minds of Muslim youth etc.
The Globalization of Terror: The Challenge Of AI-Qaida And The Response Of The International Community: Written by S Yoram Schweitzer, who is a researcher at the Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, Israel and Shaul Shay, who heads the Israel Defense Forces’ Department of History, this book details the reasons behind September 11, the planning and the actual execution of the attack. It purports to reveal, as well, the “organizational structure so carefully erected by Bin-Laden and his associates, in order to realize the vision of a worldwide Islamic Caliphate in practical terms.”
Descent Into Chaos : The World’s Most Unstable Region & The Threat To Global Security: This book by Lahore based Washington post journalist, Rashid Ahmed cautions that the real war against terror is being lost in central Asia where drug money is playing a huge role in sponsoring the arms race. His book reveals the “failure of nation building” in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia and the threat from radical Islam.
The War for Muslim Minds: Islam & the West: French scholar Gilles Kepel examines the impact of global terrorism and the ensuing military operations to stem its tide. He questions the United States’ ability to address the Middle East challenge with Cold War rhetoric, while revealing the fault lines in terrorist ideology and tactics. Finally, he proposes the way out of the Middle East quagmire that triangulates the interests of Islamists, the West, and the Arab and Muslim ruling elites. Kepel delineates the conditions for the acceptance of Israel, for the democratization of Islamist and Arab societies, and for winning the minds and hearts of Muslims in the West. He also says that the jihadists are losing the battle for control of Muslim minds but warns that America has misinterpreted its enemy.
Al Qaeda: The True story of Radical Islam: Delhi based British journalist for The Observer and The Guardian, Jason Burke shows how the threat from Islamic terrorism comes not from a single criminal mastermind, or even from one group. He characterizes it as a broad movement with profound roots in the politics, societies and history of the Islamic world. Using hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents, Burke shows how “Al-Qaeda” is a convenient label applied misleadingly to a diverse, disorganized global movement dedicated to fighting a “cosmic battle” with the West. This book retells the story of Al Qaeda from scratch and challenges many myths that form the very foundations of the “War on Terror.”
Covering Islam: How The Media And The Experts Determine How We See The Rest Of The World: Edward Said’s all time classic shows how our perceptions of Islam and the Islamic world are distorted due to the media’s depiction of Islam. From the Iranian hostage crisis through the Gulf War and the bombing of the World Trade Center, the American news media have portrayed “Islam” as a monolithic entity, synonymous with terrorism and religious hysteria. Said has often been regarded as Palestine’s most vocal political voice.
Al Qaeda in Europe: This book by Lorenzo Vidino, a European expert for the Investigative Project a Washington, DC-based Counterterrorism Institute and America’s largest private data gathering center on militant Islamic activities inspects the reach of Al Qaeda in Europe while providing an extensive historical overview of Islamic terrorist activities in Europe. Europe has become one of the key battle grounds in the global war on terror. It is not a coincidence, in fact, that every attack planned or executed against the United States, including 9/11, has had strong European ties.
Guns & Butter: The Political Economy of International Security: This collection of articles edited by Prof. Peter Dombrowski of the US Naval war College examines the interrelationship between economics and warfare, including the events of September 11. It contains articles by E.O. Goldman and L.J. Blanken, S. Eckert, C.W. Hughesamong others
The Morality of War: A Reader: When and why is war justified? How, morally speaking, should wars be fought? The Morality of War confronts these challenging questions, surveying the fundamental principles and themes of the just war tradition through the words of the philosophers, jurists, and warriors who have shaped it.
Superpower on Crusade: A professor of political science and international studies at Portland State University, Mel Gurtov traces the sources of US missionary and expansionist tendencies and highlights their particular manifestations in the Bush administration. Turning to the war on Iraq, he focuses on real vs. stated objectives, the Pentagon s pre-eminence in shaping security policy, and the roles of Congress, the UN, and US allies. Subsequent chapters examine US policy with regard to such issues as nuclear proliferation, international law, development assistance, the environment, and human rights.
God’s Terrorists: The Wahhabi Cult And The Hidden Roots Of Modern Jihad: In this book, India born British journalist Charles Allen traces the roots of “Islamic fundamentalism” to the eighteenth century reform movement of Muhammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab and his followers. They, according to him, are the founders of modern terrorism. Read it for a right wing perspective
The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I saw and Why I Left: This books by Ed Husain created ripples when it was first published in 2008. For the first time, a youngster who had joined the fundamanetalist movement came out to speak about his experiences with them and why he left them. Ed was 16 when he became a fundamentalist and 21 when he left them. this book tells his story.
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