Talking to Terrorists: Why America Must Engage With its Enemies

Mark Perry, Author . Basic $26.95 (253p) ISBN 978-0-465-01117-9

Perry (A Fire of Zion ) offers a stylistically fascinating history of post 9/11 American intervention in the Middle East that unearths the secret meetings between U.S. Armed Forces and insurgents and terrorist organizations. Perry describes the excruciating process led by dedicated American and Iraqi officials to open lines of communication between the American military and Iraqi insurgents, a decision born out of the painful realization “that America's leadership had miscast the enemy in Iraq” and that what was lacking was not “more troops to kill terrorists [but] marines to talk to them.” Perry reassesses conventional wisdom regarding Israel, Hamas, and Hezbollah and points out the essential differences between the two nationalist organizations and al-Qaeda, their trans-national nihilistic counterpart, calling into question the American and Israeli tendency to conflate all Islamic political movements as implacable enemies with “nothing to say.” In the penultimate chapter, Perry weaves a lyrical narrative of memories and impressions from 20 years spent in and out of the Middle East. He contributes a worthy commentary on contemporary Middle Eastern history and a valuable argument for communication between America and her enemies. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/21/2009
Release date: 01/01/2010
Paperback - 372 pages - 978-1-4587-2127-3
Paperback - 253 pages - 978-0-465-02199-4
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!