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The ISIS Apocalypse

The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State

William McCants

Picador

The ISIS Apocalypse Download image

ISBN10: 1250112648
ISBN13: 9781250112644

Trade Paperback

272 Pages

$16.00

CA$22.99

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The Islamic State is one of the most lethal and successful jihadist groups in modern history, surpassing even al-Qaeda. Thousands of its followers have marched across Syria and Iraq, subjugating millions, enslaving women, beheading captives, and daring anyone to stop them. Thousands more have spread terror beyond the Middle East under the Islamic State's black flag.

How did the Islamic State attract so many followers and conquer so much land? By being more ruthless, more apocalyptic, and more devoted to state-building than its competitors. The shrewd leaders of the Islamic State combined two of the most powerful yet contradictory ideas in Islam-the return of the Islamic Empire and the end of the world-into a mission and a message that shapes its strategy and inspires its army of zealous fighters. They have defied conventional thinking about how to wage wars and win recruits. Even if the Islamic State is defeated, jihadist terrorism will never be the same.

Based almost entirely on primary sources in Arabic-including ancient religious texts and secret al-Qaeda and Islamic State letters that few have seen - William McCants' The ISIS Apocalypse explores how religious fervor, strategic calculation, and doomsday prophecy shaped the Islamic State's past and foreshadow its dark future.

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE TO THE 2016 EDITION

As I finished writing this book early last year, I had a stylistic decision to make. What tense would I use to describe the Islamic State’s capabilities and intentions? The State’s enemies had not yet...

About the author

William McCants

William McCants directs the project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution. He is adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University and a former U.S. State Department senior adviser for countering violent extremism. McCants has a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University and lives in the Washington, D.C. area.

David McCants

William McCants

Official Links

Jihadica: Documenting the Global Jihad

William McCants at Foreign Affairs

William McCants at the Brookings Institute