Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, by J.M. Berger



Jihad Joe by J.M. Berger 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 Westerners 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.

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 Jewish Californian 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.

"Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam" is the first comprehensive look at the phenomenon of American jihadists from the 1970s to the present, and looking ahead to the future, drawing on scores of interviews and thousands of pages of exclusive documents.

Buy the book today!


Jean-Charles Brisard, former chief investigator, 9/11 families' lawsuits: "A fascinating journey into the rise, expansion, and future of American jihadism. J. M. Berger goes beyond the Awlaki mania to investigate firsthand the changing nature of the terrorist threat to the United States." --

Josh Meyer, former terrorism/national security reporter, Los Angeles Times, and director of education and outreach, Medill National Security Journalism Initiative, Northwestern University: "Jihad Joe is a hell of a book -- authoritatively reported, well sourced, and painstakingly researched. This is required reading for anyone seeking to understand the true nature of the terrorist threat that confronts us.

Peter Bergen, New America Foundation: "An authoritative, definitive account of Americans who go to fight in overseas jihads." | Video of book discussion

Frank Cilluffo, Homeland Security Policy Institute: "What J.M. did exceedingly well is bring together not only the stories [of American jihadists], but also a little empirical research on all of the issues and phenomena we're tracking. And that's really important, really significant. It brings some of the art with the science. It's very comprehensively put together." | Video of book discussion

Aaron Y. Zelin, curator of Jihadology.net: "J.M. Berger's Jihad Joe is a timely MUST READ. It provides the first comprehensive background and analysis on Americans joining the jihadi movement over the past thirty years. It adds to the growing body of literature on the jihadi phenomenon and offers new research that better contextualizes the current rise of American involvement in the jihadi movement. Most importantly, Jihad Joe, unlike many recent works, is non-partisan and non-political. The methodical research speaks for itself, which is reassuring in an over-politicized environment." | Zelin interview with Berger



Reviews of Jihad Joe

New York Times: "J. M. Berger's "Jihad Joe," a sober, factual account of the Americans who have been lured to the cause of religious violence, offers a useful reminder that this phenomenon is nothing new, long predating the Sept. 11 attacks. ... 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."


Politico: The end of an era for al Qaeda's Americans


Publisher's Weekly: "...Berger lifts the veil on the phenomenon of American jihadists in this timely and chilling examination. ... painstakingly lays out the scope and character of the American jihadist movement and points the way to a national debate on solutions."

Redstate.com: "At a time when so many books on politics, religion, and world events are little more than puffed-up pamphlets which are simultaneously high on hyper-partisanship and low on facts, J. M. Berger's Jihad Joe, a treatment of the radicalization and actions of American Muslims who have dedicated themselves to 'violent jihad' (the author's chosen term), is a breath of fresh -- and troubling -- air. ...its combination of information, accessibility, and engaging writing make it a unique and valuable contribution to the field."

Zenpundit: "Berger's work is detail-packed and focused, and a useful resource for that reason alone. But it is also and specifically the work of someone who has read and talked with and listened to the people he is writing about, and his work carries their voices embedded in his own commentary. It thus joins such works as Jessica Stern's Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill... Berger's is a book to read, certainly -- and more significantly perhaps, a book to admire."

Washington Times: "How these American jihadists became radicalized, recruited and trained, and the types of terrorist activities they conducted (and still engage in) whether abroad or in America, constitute the core of Mr. Berger s important book. ... Mr. Berger's comprehensive list -- one of the most exhaustive I've found in any book on this subject... those who have fought the Soviet occupying forces in Afghanistan, been present at the founding of al Qaeda, and fought as jihadists in Bosnia, Chechnya, Somalia and Yemen."