Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror; Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East: A Documentary Reader

In This Review

Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror

By Rohan Gunaratna
Columbia University Press, 2002
272 pp. $22.95

Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East: A Documentary Reader

Edited by Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin
Oxford University Press, 2002
375 pp. $30.00

Inside Al Qaeda offers biographical sketches of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda personnel, a discussion of the group's modus operandi and ideology, and a country-by-country breakdown of al Qaeda activities. A final chapter treats "The Al Qaeda Threat and the International Response." With its meticulous reconstruction of names, dates, and events, Inside Al Qaeda belongs to the genre of police reporting. This approach is an essential first step in good counterintelligence work, but it risks losing the general reader. Perhaps it can be read to greater advantage with the fine documentary reader compiled by the Rubins at hand. This collection of speeches, interviews, official documents, reports, and short scholarly studies mainly treats bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the period leading up to the September 11 terrorist attacks. It also offers a sampling of American, Middle Eastern, and world reactions to the event. With a detailed chronology of Middle East-connected terrorism against Americans and helpful glossaries, this book is a useful reference work.

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