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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go To War In The Name Of Islam

Jihad JoeI am pleased to officially announce my forthcoming book, "Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam," coming in hardcover from Potomac Books in April. Pre-orders are available through, where you can lock in a significant discount if you order now.

My approach to this topic was multifaceted. I was aiming to write a non-partisan, non-ideological book that would appeal to people who are well-versed in jihadism and terrorism while remaining accessible and interesting to people who might be approaching this subject for the first time.

The book is an overview of the phenomenon of American jihadists, hundreds of whom have taken part in jihadist activities here and abroad since 1979. While the number of American jihadists has likely increased in the last few years, I think many readers will be surprised at just how many Americans were taking part in such activities prior to September 11 through individual efforts and as part of elaborate global networks.

Although the book covers a lot of ground as a historical narrative, it also contains an investigative component, with some important stories reported for the first time, as well as expanded versions of stories first reported here on Intelwire.

For more details, check out the listing on Amazon. I will be available throughout the winter and spring to discuss this topic with the media.

Reporters and major mainstream media outlets interested in obtaining review copies should get in touch with me here. The supply of review copies will likely be limited, so I can't guarantee everyone who wants a copy will get one, but I will do my best. My colleagues and I are also developing a documentary to accompany the book. More details on that as they become available.

Source documents and multimedia content cited in the book will be posted to INTELWIRE and a dedicated site devoted to the book, which will debut toward March or April.

Stay tuned!

Book Description

They are Americans, and they are mujahideen. Hundreds of men from every imaginable background have walked away from the traditional American dream to volunteer for battle in the name of Islam. Some have taken part in foreign wars that aligned with U.S. interests while others have carried out violence against Western interests abroad, fought against the U.S. military, and even plotted terrorist attacks on American soil. This story plays out over decades and continents: from the Americans who took part in the siege of Mecca in 1979 through conflicts in Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Bosnia, and continuing today in Afghanistan and Somalia.

Investigative journalist J. M. Berger profiles numerous fighters, including some who joined al Qaeda and others who chose a different path. In these pages he portrays, among others, Abdullah Rashid, who fought the Soviets in Afghanistan; Mohammed Loay Bayazid, who was present at the founding of al Qaeda; Ismail Royer, who fought in Bosnia and Kashmir, then returned to run training camps in the United States; Adam Gadahn, a California Jew who is now al Qaeda’s chief spokesman; and Anwar Awlaki, the Yemeni-American imam with links to 9/11 who is now considered one of the biggest threats to America’s security.

About the Author

J.M. Berger is an investigative journalist working on television documentaries about al Qaeda and the global foreign fighter (mujahideen) phenomenon. Berger recently completed work on a documentary about America’s role in the Bosnian civil war, which premiered on European television in 2010. His previous work includes the 2006 National Geographic documentary Triple Cross, about an American al Qaeda operative who infiltrated the Army and FBI. He runs the investigative journalism website from his office in the greater Boston area.

Pre-order "Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam"

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Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.



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", granular analysis..."

ISIS: The State of Terror
"Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger's new book, "ISIS," should be required reading for every politician and policymaker... Their smart, granular analysis is a bracing antidote to both facile dismissals and wild exaggerations... a nuanced and readable account of the ideological and organizational origins of the group." -- Washington Post

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"...a timely warning..."

Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam:
"At a time when some politicians and pundits blur the line between Islam and terrorism, Berger, who knows this subject far better than the demagogues, sharply cautions against vilifying Muslim Americans. ... It is a timely warning from an expert who has not lost his perspective." -- New York Times

More on Jihad Joe


INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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