As an acronym, nothing strikes terror into the heart of many, except ISIS. Nothing also disgusts the Muslim and non Muslim countries more than the perversion of the concept of Islamic State, another name of ISIS.
Turkey and the Arab world are so thoroughly repulsed by it that they refer to ISIS by their Arab abbreviation, othereisw known as DAESH.
But the semantics all mean one thing: hatred for ISIS is common, precisely because ISIS has pushed the button of all countries except the most deranged individuals (who still flock to Syria to join ISIS).
In fact, the book notes that many of the 17,000-19,000 fighters who joined ISIS in recent years were "going through transitional stages of their life." In other words, these are mal-adjusted men and women, from multiple countries, who have suddenly found religion in the proverbial road to Damascus.
Yet, religion is more than what they found. They also found an unquenchable thirst for sheer domination and control.
Hence, they perpetrate vile acts of violence, only to showcase them on social media, while also burning and raping their prisoners of war; many of whom are civilians, and yet call themselves the bearer and carrier of Islam.
In this sense, this is a book without the need for any nuance. And, the authors Jessica Stern and J.m. Berger rightly delivered a card board version of Islamic State, without trying to explore if the entity was infiltrated by ex Baathists in Iraq.
Even if they want to introduce due academic rigour and complexity into the subject, the visceral hatred of the Islamic State is already total and universal. The audience simply demands a Manichean rendition of Islamic State, ironically, with All Qaeda cast as less radical species. The authors also skimmed the surface of the complexity of the Syrian conflict, and the Arab Spring, indeed, the second Gulf War that triggered all the tribal instincts of a militant Islam.
The result is a predictable description of the terror committed by the Islamic State, and the leaders and lieutenants that carry them out across the Arab world, but especially random and sporadic acts of violence through out the world. In all, this is a good book, but on its own, cannot adequately capture the respective violence promoted and harnessed by Islamic State.