“Puk Damsgård’s unadorned chronicle of Danish photojournalist Daniel Rye’s capture, confinement and eventual release delivers a lesson as astringent as medicine: in the modern era of irregular warfare, battlefields are no longer demarcated by flags or trenches but by ideology and memory. Beyond bombs and drones and Kalashnikovs, wars are now fought via emotion and media, perception and pressure. The modern front is personal.”
“Tracing modern activists’ ideological lineage back to the famed Young Turks and Young Ottomans, Genç both vivisects modern-day Turkey and grounds it in the country’s past. There are no answers in the book, no tidy, big picture proclamations; the work is rather a snapshot of a nation during a crucial time in today’s political landscape.
Under the Shadow is, in short, both complicated and absolutely necessary.”
“The current state of vast swaths of the Levant resembles, from the outside, a ball of asps, strange entanglements—Iran on the side of the Iraqi government, and both in bed with the U.S., say—baring fangs and discouraging untangling. And it is here where author Patrick Cockburn comes into play, drawing and pinning the various venomous heads and revealing, with terrible clarity, that what seems a ball of snakes is … in reality … a hydra.
Although in possession of many heads—which, coincidentally, famously sprout, two anew, from the stump of its neck when guillotined, a bizarre, extremely sadistic sexual life analogous to the jihadis’ own, reproduction via decapitation—the hydra comes as just one beast; so, too, can the Islamic State and other related jihadi militias be considered a reflection of Sunni Muslim extremism.”