Review: Black Flags: The Rise of Isis by Joby Warrick

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Black Flags: The Rise of Isis by Joby Warrick

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Genre: Non-fiction/History

Synopsis/My thoughts:

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joby Warrick chronicles the rise of terrorist groups in the Middle East that eventually led to the creation of ISIS. Warrick uses his sources inside the CIA and the Jordanian government to tell a story that reads like a thriller. From the prologue through the last page of the epilogue, I didn’t want to stop reading.

Most of us have heard at least the major headlines of the past decade or so related to terrorism in the Middle East. We’ve heard about the imposition of sharia law in formerly secular and moderate countries. We’ve heard about the public executions and torture of foreigners and local citizens alike. We’ve also heard a few names being tossed about, and we’ve definitely heard of ISIS (I’m embarrassed to say that, before reading this, I had no idea what ISIS stood for). But how many people can say they really have a grasp on how things got to be so bad?

Warrick weaves a terrifying story, one in which every decision made contributes to the rise of terrorism and extremism in an already unstable part of the world. I was shocked to find that I knew so little about how ISIS rose to power. I’ve tried to keep up with the news a little, but the media can’t tell you what it doesn’t know. This book has filled in the gaps and made me want to learn more about the region and its plight.

I can see why this book won the Pulitzer — it’s well-written, well-researched, and compelling. It’s impossible not to care about what’s going on in the world after reading this, and I think it definitely helps to explain so much about the situation in the Middle East. It was informative and entertaining at the same time, and I can’t recommend it more highly. This was a solid five-star read, and I think everyone should read it.

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