Cover: Incitement: Anwar al-Awlaki’s Western Jihad, from Harvard University PressCover: Incitement in HARDCOVER


Anwar al-Awlaki’s Western Jihad

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$37.00 • £32.95 • €33.95

ISBN 9780674979505

Publication Date: 05/05/2020

Academic Trade

352 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

9 photos


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Anwar al-Awlaki was one of the foremost prophets of modern global terrorism… Incitement documents Awlaki’s journey through the ideological and political dynamics that have defined contemporary Islamism… The author reveals a figure shaped by both fundamental beliefs and shifting applications of them.—Mardean Isaac, The Times Literary Supplement

An excellent book about one of the most significant—and often misunderstood—terrorist propagandists of the modern day… While terrorism is often thought of and studied as a collective phenomenon, this book shows the significant and enduring role the individual can have. It is a lesson that deserves to be well heeded.—Stephen Nemeth, American Religion

A fascinating analysis of the career of this most dangerously charismatic of fanatics… Meleagrou-Hitchens has provided an essential analysis of the career of one of jihad’s most successful devotees and enlightened us as to the broader nature of Islamic holy war… If you want to understand the nature of Islamic terrorism and its evolution, look no further… If we want to combat the ideology that leads to such violence, we must understand it. Incitement will be central to that understanding.—Daniel James Sharp, Areo

A fascinating insight into al-Awlaki’s personal ideological evolution and how he became so effective in communicating the Salafi-Jihadist message… You can’t help but see just why al-Awlaki was and remains so effective as a communicator and recruiter… Meleagrou-Hitchens is an excellent guide.—Joshua Huminski, The Diplomatic Courier

Illustrates the long tail of one ideological figure… Incitement shows how Awlaki…initiated a new departure in mass violence.—Damien McElroy, The National

Jihadism is here; it’s not leaving anytime soon, and we need to understand it so we can better fight it… An outstanding book on the subject and has much to teach us on the nature of homegrown jihadism.—David Patrikarakos, The Spectator

Meleagrou-Hitchens…has spent the better part of a decade poring over Awlaki’s ideological production, interviewing his former acquaintances, and sifting through the historical record… The result is not only the definitive work on Awlaki, but an impressive text that marries the readability of a trade press biography and the analytical rigor of an academic monograph.—Thomas Hegghammer, War on the Rocks

A rigorous analysis of American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki’s influence on the global jihadist movement… [Meleagrou-Hitchens’s] lucid and deeply informed presentation reveals just how difficult it is to stamp out extremist ideologies once they’ve taken root. This sobering account makes a meaningful contribution to the study of terrorism.Publishers Weekly

Make no mistake, this is a very important book. The meticulously researched description of al-Awlaki’s ideology, his charisma, and his influence on a whole generation of Salafi jihadists should make this required reading for policymakers, practitioners, and academics alike. Anyone who is seriously interested in trying to understand what the future of global jihad might look like should pay very careful attention to the past, and I have seen no more coherent description nor compelling analysis than this. But beyond that, the very readability of this book should bring it to a wider audience. The narrative is incredibly powerful.—Peter Clarke, former Head of Counter Terrorism at New Scotland Yard and UK National Co-ordinator of Terrorist Investigations, 2002–2008

With forensic research and deep scholarship, Meleagrou-Hitchens traces the spiritual and political evolution of al-Qaeda’s most prominent recruiter of Westerners, the American preacher Anwar al-Awlaki. A major contribution to the study of religious violence.—Scott Shane, author of Objective Troy and veteran New York Times national security reporter

Incitement presents the most comprehensive and incisive analysis available of the American-born al-Qaeda ideologue and recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki. Meleagrou-Hitchens masterfully assesses al-Awlaki’s emergence as the ‘face of Western jihad’ during the War on Terror’s first decade and provides new insights regarding his messaging and recruitment methods, his impact, and his legacy.—Bruce Hoffman, Georgetown University, author of Inside Terrorism

A deep, insightful journey into one of the most extraordinary terrorist legacies ever witnessed. Incitement connects the dots between Western jihadism’s ‘Pied Piper’ and his far-flung devotees. Meleagrou-Hitchens’s brilliant analysis gives us an essential account that should be read by researchers and national security professionals alike.—John Horgan, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Psychology, Georgia State University

Anwar al-Awlaki continues to motivate, inspire, and activate young jihadists long after his death. Incitement illuminates the how and why of that process in a way that both academics and practitioners will find incredibly valuable.—Nicholas J. Rasmussen, former Director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, 2014–2017

Incitement is an authoritative and deeply researched account of the impact of the most important jihadist ideologue in the English-speaking world, the U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki.—Peter Bergen, author of United States of Jihad: Who Are America’s Terrorists and How Do We Stop Them?

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