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Reviews for Rise of Isis:

1

Sep 29, 2014

Sekulow touches on a poignant topic in this loosely stitched book based on a collection of his academic papers and speeches on the topic of ISIS, formerly AQI (Al-Qaeda in Iraq). What began slowly, but intriguingly soon became a soapbox diatribe against the group collectively called the international left. Sekulow begins with some interesting history and horrific discussions of what ISIS does, which made the basis for some eye-opening reading. However, much of the book was hijacked with talk of Sekulow touches on a poignant topic in this loosely stitched book based on a collection of his academic papers and speeches on the topic of ISIS, formerly AQI (Al-Qaeda in Iraq). What began slowly, but intriguingly soon became a soapbox diatribe against the group collectively called the international left. Sekulow begins with some interesting history and horrific discussions of what ISIS does, which made the basis for some eye-opening reading. However, much of the book was hijacked with talk of Hamas, the Palestinian-based terrorist group that works in and around Israel. The authors take the reader down this road, pounding the tenets of international law and historical flashbacks, but with no direct relation to the topic at hand (which I thought was clearly noted in the title, THE RISE OF ISIS)! Bemoaning the world, save for Israel and pre-Obama US military actions, the authors use this book as their own means to push a pro-Israeli stance onto the reader, sweetening everyone up with a few chapters on ISIS and then coming back to them at the end with a war drum booming towards the terrorist group's annihilation. Poorly plotted and not worth the time invested.

Seeking an outlet to better understand this group, I strove to take the time to read and see what the authors had to say about the topic, and to perhaps leave the reading experience with something to add to my intellectual quiver. I was sorely mistaken and hope that Sekulow and company make little on this piece of drivel. True, it was well researched and cited (kudos there), but I went in wanting knowledge and left feeling preached to and ill at ease.

For shame, Mr. Sekuow and friends. You slapped this together like a second-grade history report and tried to make i spiffy with footnotes and quotes. Stop dressing your wolfish research up in sheep's clothing. ...more
1

Nov 08, 2014

So bad. One chapter on ISIS and the rest on Hamas. Listen, if I want to read a book about Hamas, I'll buy a book about Hamas. And if I do buy a book on Hamas I would hope it at least attempted objectivity. Another thing that made m angry: Sekulow contends that, "In the United States we thankfully don't have a history of genocide (page 89)." Oh, we don't? What did we do to the Native Americans? I won't go on with specifics. Suffice to say it was a poor purchase on my part.
2

January 14, 2015

... idea how this is a #1 New York Times Best Seller. I am a social studies teacher that ...
I have no idea how this is a #1 New York Times Best Seller. I am a social studies teacher that has bought countless books through Amazon, usually by relying on the reviews from other customers. This is a topic that I feel needs to be included in my classroom and could not wait to read it. I also recently received a Kindle as a gift. The reason I say that is because all of a sudden the book was done and I was shocked. I thought something was wrong with what I downloaded! It was beyond short, and like others have said, the title is beyond misleading. The majority of the book addresses Hamas, instead of ISIS. Also, the author repeats he same information over and over about the atrocities Hamas commits. Surprisingly, this book could be much shorter. I was very disappointed.
4

Feb 28, 2015

We have the ability to use overwhelming force to destroy this pseudo nation state in a matter of months and so far we have done shockingly little. It sickens me.

Half of this book dealt with HAMAS which uses similar tactics and has similar goals but that should have been in the title. I know HAMAS well. ISIS is new and I wish the entire book was more focused on these guys.

This isn't just a terrorist organization. Al Qaeda didn't have an army. They weren't driving around in our M1 Abrams tanks We have the ability to use overwhelming force to destroy this pseudo nation state in a matter of months and so far we have done shockingly little. It sickens me.

Half of this book dealt with HAMAS which uses similar tactics and has similar goals but that should have been in the title. I know HAMAS well. ISIS is new and I wish the entire book was more focused on these guys.

This isn't just a terrorist organization. Al Qaeda didn't have an army. They weren't driving around in our M1 Abrams tanks after we abandoned our presence in Iraq despite their pleas for us to reconsider withdrawal.

This is a moral failure for America and our enemies are throwing it in our face on YouTube every time they saw off a head or set someone on fire - men, women, and children. It's disgusting.

Meanwhile, we talk about the Kardashians while ISIS fighters shoot babies in the face in front of their mothers as a warning not to collaborate with our poor excuse for a coalition.

Fuck these guys. If we don't step in, Iran will. Do we want that? ...more
2

Oct 04, 2014

While it contained some good information, it was pretty disappointing given the title. The title makes you think it’s going to be about the history of ISIS, their ideology, and their goals - especially as they pertain to America. But out of the eleven chapters, only two are about ISIS, containing nothing really more that what we’ve already heard about on the news. The rest of the book is about Hamas and Israel.

I very much appreciate much of what Jay Sekulow and his staff do for America and the While it contained some good information, it was pretty disappointing given the title. The title makes you think it’s going to be about the history of ISIS, their ideology, and their goals - especially as they pertain to America. But out of the eleven chapters, only two are about ISIS, containing nothing really more that what we’ve already heard about on the news. The rest of the book is about Hamas and Israel.

I very much appreciate much of what Jay Sekulow and his staff do for America and the liberties we need protected. However, it’s really hard for me to get behind a foreign policy that is based on the premise that when Israel is attacked so is America, or a foreign policy that is based on the premise (roughly stated) that if some group is being persecuted overseas it’s America’s duty to go stomp that bully into the ground. But those two foreign policy views (mostly the former) are argued for throughout this book.

I thought the information about Hamas and Israel was somewhat helpful. It gave some more detail than what I’ve heard on the news. And there was certainly a lot I learned about the laws of international warfare. Yet it had hardly anything to do with the “Rise of ISIS” and how they are “A Threat We Can’t Ignore”... A more accurate title would have been: The Recent Conflict Between Israel and Hamas: A Primer on The Laws of International Warfare ...more
1

April 4, 2015

Book is misleading. Focuses on Hamas and Israel.
Let me begin by saying that this is probably the first negative review I've ever written.

As an infantry officer in the army, I bought this hoping to read it and gain a little more understanding of the enemy. The reviews were good and it was an Amazon best seller so I ordered it on my kindle.

There were many things wrong with this book.

First, about half the book is is about Hamas in Israel. I get that the two groups are linked, but that makes the cover of the book incredibly misleading. I feel like they're taking advantage of the Isis title to sell more copies.

Secondly, they focus almost entirely on how both groups break the Laws of Armed Conflict and the Geneva Convention and don't fight fair. Well no $&@!. They're both Islamic radical terrorist groups. That's their thing. They fight dirty to make people afraid of them.

Third, the book is incredibly repetitive and reads like a high school argumentative essay. My opinion. Pretty self explanatory.

Lastly, the book spends too much time standing up for Israel and the way that they respond to attacks by Hamas.

In closing, the book should be reclassified as international politics or international relations and the title and back cover should be updated so as not to trick people like me who wanted to learn about ISIS into buying it.
2

Dec 05, 2014

I got the distinct impression the author had been working on a law review article about Hamas, then ISIS became big news and he decided to increase readership by turning the article into a book and titling it Rise of ISIS. I wanted a book to inform me about ISIS. I basically got two chapters.
5

Nov 26, 2015

Short and frightening. Sekulow explains ISIS (and Hamas), and their history, including US involvement, succinctly. Well worth the time for readers interested in this topic.
3

February 21, 2015

All in all in easy read for a beginner level student on topics of ...
I bought this book to learn about isis. I learned a little bit. Since a 2010 trip to the middle east I have become interested in the conflict and sympathize with Palestine. This book caught me off guard as overly zionist biased. Almost wrongfully titled about isis. The book is more about justifying disproportionate retaliation by Israel upon Gaza, their charter and agenda. At the end it gives a heavy handed criticism of Obama. I question Sekulow's motives and appreciate the footnotes but also notice how they vanish or become irrelevant and or misleading when he is trying to build a case for Israeli and USA wars.
All in all in easy read for a beginner level student on topics of conflict in the region.
Some detail on isis was interesting.
Not satisfying.
Left feeling like you have just read a huge propoganda pamphlet for the zionist movement.
1

May 29, 2015

Garbage.
As a member of the IC, I picked up this book along with the Iraq books written by Malcom Nance ( which I HIGHLY recommend for any intelligence officer / curious member of the public )

The first thing I noticed when receiving the books is how incredibly thin the Rise of ISIS book is, which is generally not a good sign.

After reading the book, I realized that the authors "facts" on ISIS are about as thin as the book itself. It starts out decently enough, and then goes to hilarious lengths to center the whole AQI/ISIS/ISIL debacle around Israel. Oh, and for extra kicks there is some sort of song aimed at the persecuted Christians in the Middle East added to the book.

Do yourself a favor and pick any other author when it comes to ISIL, this guy has a clear agenda and jumps through some impressive hoops to validate that agenda.
3

May 29, 2015

This book should be titled "Hamas and the rise of ISIS"
This book is pretty obviously biased with the author frequently blaming the infamous "left" along with NATO and the American Red Cross for many problems we face in the Middle East, I don't disagree with his perspective but such polarizing language makes it hard to fully believe everything he states. The book is also incorrectly titled, as half the book is not about ISIS, but about the terrorist group Hamas. This is also not clear in the book description, as Hamas is only mentioned once as "ISIS and Hamas" yet ISIS is mentioned 3 times. Chapters 1-3 seem to be about ISIS, while Chapters 4-6, 8-11 are primarily about Hamas. I have to assume then that the author was merely trying to capitalize on the current attention surrounding ISIS to push his message about Hamas. Although both are Muslim extremist groups, they are not directly related. If you are looking for a book strictly about ISIS, go elsewhere. If you are looking for a short synopsis about both groups, this will do for a quick read.
2

Oct 14, 2014

“Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore” by Jay Sekulow (Simon & Schuster/Howard Books, 2014) stimulated mixed feelings…especially considering the title is largely a lure.

Based on a series of papers the author submitted to Oxford University in July 2014, this short book is a call to America to stay in the fight against jihadists. While the title would lead one to believe that the book has a focus on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), what it really comes off as is an explanation “Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore” by Jay Sekulow (Simon & Schuster/Howard Books, 2014) stimulated mixed feelings…especially considering the title is largely a lure.

Based on a series of papers the author submitted to Oxford University in July 2014, this short book is a call to America to stay in the fight against jihadists. While the title would lead one to believe that the book has a focus on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), what it really comes off as is an explanation and defense of Israeli actions against HAMAS, the Palestinian terror group whose roots trace back to the Muslim Brotherhood. I have no trouble reading about the disguised subject, but I thought I bought a primer on ISIS.

The book is but 128 pages long, and less than 100 of those are text. The first third of the book does indeed discuss the roots of ISIS and how it came into being. This was very interesting and provided excellent background on ISIS. Besides examining the evolution of ISIS as a terrorist organization, the author takes pains to delineate what he calls the Law of War…Necessity, Distinction, Proportionality, and Humane Treatment. This was the good stuff.

The last two thirds of the book focus on HAMAS and Israel’s constant struggle against it. The author reveals the parties that, in his eyes, have not supported Israel enough. He makes some unreasonable statements, such as “The U.N. and international left often want to see terrorists prevail. They want Israel and America to take terrible losses…” (Pg. 64/65) These grand swipes at the international community give the book an unbalanced feeling. Later on (Pg. 86) he accuses the United Nations, the International Red Cross, President Obama’s administration, and the current State Department of being “appeasers.” He criticizes President Clinton for appeasing Yasser Arafat, President Obama for pulling out of Iraq, and essentially praises President Bush for invading Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003.

Thus my mixed feelings. When the author stayed on the topic of ISIS the book was enlightening. When he spent most of his time on HAMAS it was more of a polemic.
...more
1

Feb 15, 2015

A waste of my time. From the title, I expected a description of the origins and rise of the Islamic State (or ISIS, ISIL). There are about 27 pages on this subject consisting mostly of information gleaned from newspapers and news networks. The balance of the book is about the evils of Hamas and how everything Israel has ever done to defend itself against Hamas has been justified. Hamas is a deplorable terrorist organization, but that does not mean Israel's response has always been perfect (just A waste of my time. From the title, I expected a description of the origins and rise of the Islamic State (or ISIS, ISIL). There are about 27 pages on this subject consisting mostly of information gleaned from newspapers and news networks. The balance of the book is about the evils of Hamas and how everything Israel has ever done to defend itself against Hamas has been justified. Hamas is a deplorable terrorist organization, but that does not mean Israel's response has always been perfect (just as the U.S. has been far from perfect post 9/11). The author is outraged that Israel's response has even been questioned, let alone investigated, by the UN. Human Rights Watch, which the author cites frequently as authoritative on the abuses of Hamas and ISIS, has also documented credible instances of Israel's shortcomings, but the author passes over those reports. I'm not sure why credible reports of human rights abuses can't be investigated regardless of who the alleged perpetrator is. ...more
1

Jun 05, 2015

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Out of 14 chapters, like three are about ISIS. Most of the book is about Hamas, and it is not until the epilogue that the author explains (unconvincingly) why Hamas is a good case study for ISIS.

It is also not a good book about Hamas. It is an anti-Islam polemic, that expresses unqualified support for what the author views as an unambiguously virtuous Israel. He also engages in an awful lot of reducto ad Hitlerium, making clumsy comparisons between Hamas, ISIS, and the Nazis.

Basically this is a Out of 14 chapters, like three are about ISIS. Most of the book is about Hamas, and it is not until the epilogue that the author explains (unconvincingly) why Hamas is a good case study for ISIS.

It is also not a good book about Hamas. It is an anti-Islam polemic, that expresses unqualified support for what the author views as an unambiguously virtuous Israel. He also engages in an awful lot of reducto ad Hitlerium, making clumsy comparisons between Hamas, ISIS, and the Nazis.

Basically this is a bad book about Hamas, that has a brief aside about ISIS. ...more
5

Oct 01, 2014

Thank you Jay Sekulow for an understanding of Muslums, Hamas, jihad & what they are fighting to defeat, the USA and all our allies. The battle that Israel is fighting and has fought since 1948 and before, I now understand. I understand why being Israel's partner in this fight is so critical. Wow, opened my eyes.
5

Sep 20, 2014

Reading this book is akin to reading a horror novel—terrifying. I didn't want to keep reading, yet I need to know about this horrific threat that the world faces. Some of the descriptions of the evil perpetrated by ISIS made me sick; it is hard to believe that human beings can be this depraved. America and the world must wake up to the reality and horror of this threat before it is too late.
5

Nov 01, 2014

Jay Sekulow present one the most researched yet concise works on ISIS and Hamas. This is a quick fact filled book explaining the rise of ISIS and the differences I. This terrorist group that make them a new kind of threat that needs to be dealt with vigorously and immediately. A great book to educate yourself on the current Mid East conflicts.

Jay Sekulow present one the most researched yet concise works on ISIS and Hamas. This is a quick fact filled book explaining the rise of ISIS and the Jay Sekulow present one the most researched yet concise works on ISIS and Hamas. This is a quick fact filled book explaining the rise of ISIS and the differences I. This terrorist group that make them a new kind of threat that needs to be dealt with vigorously and immediately. A great book to educate yourself on the current Mid East conflicts.

Jay Sekulow present one the most researched yet concise works on ISIS and Hamas. This is a quick fact filled book explaining the rise of ISIS and the differences I. This terrorist group that make them a new kind of threat that needs to be dealt with vigorously and immediately. A great book to educate yourself on the current Mid East conflicts. ...more
2

Jan 07, 2015

This Book was good, but kind of deceiving given the title which reads “The Rise of ISIS”. It barely skimmed the surface of ISIS and its many issues, but instead focused on the war between Hamas and Israel. Now don’t get me wrong, I love learning about Israel, but when you buy a book that seemingly claims to educate you on ISIS and doesn't, now that’s just plain evil. This book basically was dissing the far left and Obama for what they've been doing to Israel, personally I thought it was kind of This Book was good, but kind of deceiving given the title which reads “The Rise of ISIS”. It barely skimmed the surface of ISIS and its many issues, but instead focused on the war between Hamas and Israel. Now don’t get me wrong, I love learning about Israel, but when you buy a book that seemingly claims to educate you on ISIS and doesn't, now that’s just plain evil. This book basically was dissing the far left and Obama for what they've been doing to Israel, personally I thought it was kind of boring because they kept saying the same thing over and over. I wouldn't suggest this book to anyone, unless they want to hear about Hamas and the Republican goals in that part of the world. ...more
5

Nov 01, 2014

Very informative summary on the jihadist threat of ISIS and Hamas. Accurately outlines the long ans short term consequences of such a threat and reveals vital information about the brutality of Islamic jihadists. Recommended for everybody!
5

Sep 19, 2014

Don't Confuse Me With The Facts

The truth speaks for itself. This Book should be required reading for all of Congress. Pray that Evil is defeated.
4

Oct 25, 2014

I now have much better understanding of who ISIS is and what they are all about.
4

Oct 19, 2014

A good read, and a warning for all of us. We are still at war with terrorism.
5

Oct 27, 2014

A book everyone should read! Extensive research & top legal authorities with experience in Middle East current events. Will write full review at later date.
5

Oct 13, 2014

Wow, intense. The book was great and it caught me up to date on what was really going in Isreal. :)
1

November 24, 2016

Misleading title, don't waste your time or money.
(I finished this book concurrently with other books examining Al Qaeda and the rise of ISIS in the Middle East and this review should be read in the context of the other books. A list of many of the books is at the bottom of this post.)

A short book that even includes a link to Jay Sekulow's band playing a patriotic song. Not scholarly or well-cited; it seems a quick publish to make a buck on the line of books with "ISIS" in the title. The mission of the book isn't to talk about ISIS at all, but to redirect attention back to terrorist attacks against Israel by Hamas and Palestinian organizations. Sekulow is an attorney affiliated with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). David French, One of the listed co-authors, is a writer for National Review who (with his wife) rejected Trump as a political candidate and felt the wrath in the form of anti-semitic threats.

The book is a bait-and-switch to compare ISIS to Hamas as well as a call to arms for a defense of the world against ISIS and Israel against its enemies. The author rails against the "International Left" that has its head in the sand about radical Islam. Another goal seems to be informing the reader of how to talk to his Congressman or Senator. Sekulow seems ignorant of what the "surge" in Iraq and the strategy of COIN did-- namely pay militants not to fight the US and to consolidate Sunni tribes to fight for their own interests.

There is little deep examination of ISIS in this book. ISIS, Hamas, and Al Qaeda don't hesitate to attack from schools, mosques, hospitals and others where children and innocents will be killed if nations respond in self-defense. Sekulow writes that the Red Cross is somewhat complicit in that it does not condemn this behavior. He makes a war crimes case against all the extremists. ISIS violates Sharia law in its brutality and murder of other Muslims, the author writes. Hamas uses international aid to buy weapons and dig tunnels under Israel. The author does not acknowledge any Israeli overreach in the occupied territories over the last 40 years. I am not sure it helps his cause to mix Hamas in with ISIS, especially when he is selling a book on false pretenses. The ACLJ is intent on confronting "lawfare" by sympathizers of radical Islam.

The author is very critical of Obama, writing that he has "lost all moral credibility" in his policies of withdrawal from Iraq, appeasing of Palestinians, and refusal to do much of anything about ISIS. Again, there is no wider context given for any of Obama's decisions, or the realities he inherited from the Bush administration. I give this book 1 star. Don't waste your time or money.

-----------------------------------------------------
Other Al Qaeda and ISIS-related books reviewed in 2016:
The Siege of Mecca - Yaroslav Trofimov (5 stars)
The Bin Ladens - Steve Coll (4 stars)
Growing Up Bin Laden - Najwa and Omar Bin Laden (4.5 stars)
Guantanamo Diary - Mohamedou Ould Slahi (4.5 stars)
The Black Banners - Ali Soufan (5 stars)
Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS - Joby Warrick (4.5 stars)
Jihad Academy: The Rise of the Islamic State - Nicholas Henin (4.5 stars)
ISIS: The State of Terror - Jessica Stern and JM Berger (4 stars)
ISIS Exposed - Erick Stakelbeck (2.5 stars)
Rise of ISIS - Jay Sekulow and David French (1 star)

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