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The last refuge : Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's war in Arabia /
Gregory D. Johnsen.
1st ed.
New York : W.W. Norton, c2013.
xv, 352 p. : map ; 25 cm.
0393082423 (hbk.), 9780393082425 (hbk.)
More Details
New York : W.W. Norton, c2013.
0393082423 (hbk.)
9780393082425 (hbk.)
standard identifier
contents note
Rise and fall. A far-off land ; The next Afghanistan ; The dogs of war ; Faith and wisdom ; The southern job ; Allies ; A new war ; Attrition ; Victory -- Forgetting. Rehab ; A revolt in the North ; Prison cells ; Policy shift -- The next generation. The great escape ; Resurrecting al-Qaeda ; Echoes of battles ; The merger ; Targets ; Out of the shadows.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [303]-332) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2013-06-01:
Following the 9/11 attacks and the awakening of public awareness of the Islamic jihadi threat, terrorism studies have become a prominent subfield within Middle Eastern studies. Scholars and strategic analysts, journalists, and former CIA members and operatives from similar security agencies have published a litany of accounts on the origins, history, ideology, and modes of operation of al-Qaeda and its global affiliates. The uniqueness of this latest contribution to the genre is its focus on Yemen, a rather poor and peripheral country, which, in spite of its recognizable Biblical name and its frequent mentioning in the news, remains by and large unknown to most Americans. Princeton PhD candidate and Fulbright Fellow Johnsen traces the history of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and, as the title suggests, claims that Yemen is likely to become the organization's last and ultimate base of operation. Written in a combined scholarly and journalistic style and based mostly on oral interviews the author conducted in Yemen, the book is very readable and should enlighten those unfamiliar with Yemeni politics. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Most levels/libraries. M. Gershovich University of Nebraska, Omaha
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2012-08-27:
As the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden and many high-level al-Qaeda operatives, Yemen has long held a powerful appeal for jihadis: its remote and unforgiving terrain, weak central government, and shifting tribal rivalries make it more like outlaw-friendly Afghanistan than any other Arab country. Johnsen, a former Yemen-based Fulbright fellow, has produced the first comprehensive history of the al-Qaeda movement there: an engrossing account of the operations, personalities, and motivations that have caused the United States such headaches. Drawing upon both American sources and documents captured from insurgents, he offers a sophisticated look at complex phenomena, even though his knowledge of al-Qaeda's inner workings tends to be limited and speculative. Although the background of tribal politics and Wahhabi religious institutions that made Yemen a terrorist nerve center is largely eschewed in favor of the details of drone attacks and suicide bombings, Johnsen exposes the frequent missteps of both the insurgents and American authorities, including errors that caused the CIA to waste years tracking down con men and fraudsters. The story ends ambiguously. Today, the movement's leadership is in disarray, but in the chaos of Yemen's civil war, al-Qaeda fighters have established hegemony over significant regions of the country, potentially ready to pose further problems. Agent: Rick Broadhead at, Rick Broadhead & Associates. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Review Quotes
Gregory Johnsen has written a break-through book on one of the most under-reported and misunderstood stories of the post 9-11 era. Penned in gripping prose and with incredible attention to detail, The Last Refuge unfolds with the pace of an action novel. But this story is all too true. If we ignore the widening covert war in Yemen and fail to learn from its complicated history, we do so at our own peril. Years from now, Johnsen will be seen as one of the few who got it right.
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, August 2012
Booklist, November 2012
Kirkus Reviews, February 2013
Choice, June 2013
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Main Description
Far from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States and al-Qaeda are fighting a clandestine war of drones and suicide bombers in an unforgiving corner of Arabia. The Last Refuge charts the rise, fall, and resurrection of al-Qaeda in Yemen over the last thirty years, detailing how a group that the United States once defeated has now become one of the world's most dangerous threats. An expert on Yemen who has spent years on the ground there, Gregory D. Johnsen uses al-Qaeda's Arabic battle notes to reconstruct their world as they take aim at the United States and its allies. Johnsen brings readers in-side al-Qaeda's training camps and safe houses as the terrorists plot poison attacks and debate how to bring down an airliner on Christmas Day. The Last Refuge is an eye-opening look at the successes and failures of fighting a new type of war in one of the most turbulent countries in the world.
Table of Contents
Map of Yemenp. ix
Prologuep. xi
Rise and Fall
A Far-Off Landp. 3
The Next Afghanistanp. 19
The Dogs of Warp. 35
Faith and Wisdomp. 48
The Southern Jobp. 65
Alliesp. 81
A New Warp. 93
Attritionp. 107
Victoryp. 119
Rehabp. 135
A Revolt in the Northp. 148
Prison Cellsp. 160
Policy Shiftp. 176
The Next Generation
The Great Escapep. 191
Resurrecting al-Qaedap. 206
Echoes of Battlesp. 220
The Mergerp. 235
Targetsp. 251
Out of the Shadowsp. 269
Principal Charactersp. 289
Acknowledgmentsp. 295
Note on Sources and Transliterationp. 301
Notesp. 303
Indexp. 333
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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