Glenn E. Robinson


On his book Global Jihad: A History

Cover Interview of May 05, 2021


I am humbled by the fact that the book is already being hailed as a major contribution to our knowledge not only of the global jihad movement but of Middle East politics more generally. While I hope such positive reviews continue, I have three primary goals for this book. First, after four decades of global jihad, and two decades since the attacks on 9/11, I hope this book becomes the “go-to” book on global jihad. For anyone who wants to understand ISIS and al-Qa’ida or similar groups, this is the book they consult first and perhaps last. I hope that it is seen as the best summary study of global jihad for students and the general public to read for years to come. It not only provides the history of global jihad, but also an interpretation of how to best understand that history.

Second, I would like this book to have an impact on the discussions in terrorism studies and broader conversations over political violence concerning the role that the concept of “movements of rage” can play in understanding certain forms of political violence. Conceptualizing such anti-Enlightenment groups as forming a movement of rage can help us more accurately understand the ideologies and organizational structures of such groups, as well as their likely resort to violence.

Third, this book should have an impact in the policy realm, where dealing with global jihad groups and other movements of rage is a major policy concern. Policy makers need to be aware of the variations in global jihad groups, and they need to understand how the current fourth wave of global jihad is quite distinctive from earlier waves. Helping to gauge the overall level of threat from global jihad flows naturally from the concerns in this book. And, moving beyond global jihad groups, policy makers should be aware of the concept of movements of rage and how policies vis-à-vis these groups must by nature be quite distinct from the usual counter-terror type actions.