The ISIS Reader
Milestone Texts of the Islamic State Movement
This sober analysis of Islamic State’s media and propaganda output is essential for understanding what drives the movement.
In the wake of its ‘Caliphate’ declaration in 2014, the self-described Islamic State has been the focus of countless academic papers, government studies, media commentaries and documentaries. Despite all this attention, persistent myths continue to shape—and misdirect—public understanding and strategic policy decisions. A significant factor in this trend has been a strong disinclination to engage critically with Islamic State’s speeches and writings—as if doing so reflects empathy with the movement’s goals or, even more absurdly, may itself lead to radicalisation.
Going beyond the descriptive and the sensationalist, this volume presents and analyses a series of milestone Islamic State primary source materials. Scholar-practitioners with field experience in confronting the movement explore and contextualise its approach to warfare, propaganda and governance, examining the factors behind its dramatic evolution from failed proto-state in 2010 to standard-bearer of global jihadism in 2014, to besieged insurgency in 2019. The ISIS Reader will help anyone— students and journalists, military personnel, civil servants and inquisitive observers—to better understand not only the evolution of Islamic State and the dynamics of asymmetric warfare, but the importance of primary sources in doing so.
Haroro J. Ingram is a senior research fellow at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism;
Craig Whiteside teaches National Security Affairs at the Naval War College Monterey, California
Charlie Winter is a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, King’s College London.
‘A remarkable work of textual historiography, The ISIS Reader blends a careful selection of primary sources with insightful analysis. Scholarly yet accessible, it is an indispensable resource to better understand the world’s deadliest terrorist organisation.’ — Lorenzo Vidino, Director of the Program on Extremism, George Washington University