Each of these three books takes a different approach to explaining the rise of the Islamic State. Fishman is trained in the nascent field of jihadist studies and focuses on jihadist media and intellectual output as well as on the accounts presented by captured documents, detainees, and defectors; Gerges is a scholar who provides an overview that encapsulates the historical, political, and cultural context of the events described; and Wood is a journalist exploring the unfiltered motivations and thoughts of the jihadis themselves. The three books complement one another and in many ways do not overlap. However, it is this reviewer's sense that there is still enough missing from these accounts, as a result of shortcomings in method, that ultimately detracts from the ability to comprehend the problem set presented by the Zarqawist “style” of jihadism.

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