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Talking to the Enemy: Violent Extremism, Sacred Values, and What it Means to Be Human by [Scott Atran]

Talking to the Enemy: Violent Extremism, Sacred Values, and What it Means to Be Human Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 ratings

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This deeply researched, wide ranging, and very timely study provides a compelling and often surprising account of what lies behind the jihadi phenomenon . . . . It should be read carefully, and pondered (Noam Chomsky)

Scott Atran is one of the very few persons who understand religion and have figured out that religion is not about belief and cannot be naively replaced without severe side effects (Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan)

A riveting account of the motivational basis of terrorism and field material of rare quality. Dismantling the myths that guide the so called war on terror, he provides the tools to address a global problem rationally and effectively (Carlo Strenger, Graduate Chair of Clinical Psychology, Tel Aviv University, and columnist for Ha'aretz)

The political implications of [Atran's] well-grounded analysis are profound but conveyed in an accessible style which left me excited and hopeful (John, Lord Alderdice, Chairman of the Liberal Democrat Party in the House of Lords, former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly and President of Liberal International)

Atran's intellectual reach is prodigious; his analysis of the underpinnings of terrorism is instructive, if often unconventional; and his provocative prescriptions merit debate and consideration (Publishers Weekly)

Atran explores the way terrorists think about themselves and teaches us, at last, intelligent ways to think about terrorists. He puts the threat in perspective and provides keys to winning the fight against violent zealotry (Christopher Dickey, Newsweek Middle East Editor)

The stories Atran brings back from talking to jihadists and their supporters are gripping, and the result of his experiments that probe their sacred values are compelling. The insights he gains tell us more than we knew before about what it means to be human (Robert Axelrod, Walgreen Professor for the Study of Human Understanding at the University of Michigan)

Atran is one of the world's most important thinkers on the local and global dynamics of violent Islamist extremism ... required reading for those trying to understand the problems of terrorism in the 21st century (Juan Zarate, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism 2005 - 2009)

Atran deploys his formidable knowledge ... to dissect the various dynamics that have helped form human individuals into groups, warbands, hunting parties or armies over the millennia ...Even more impressive is Atran's field research... research that underpins his vision of radical Islamic militancy as an adaptive social movement... A very useful addition to other, more mainstream understandings of what "al-Qaida" might be. (Jason Burke Observer)

Talking to the Enemy is about far more than violent extremism. One of the most penetrating works of social investigation to appear in many years, it offers a fresh and compelling perspective on human conflict. (John Gray Literary Review)

In his highly readable round-the-world examination of the jihad and its adherents, Atran pieces together the lives and the backgrounds of extremists, offering insightful perspectives by placing contemporary Islamist dissent into a deeper context of human evolutionary history. (Richard Phelps Financial Times)

Talking to the Enemy is an important book, by turns fascinating, dense, scientific, debatable, illuminating. (David Aaronovitch The Times)

In this baggy, passionate and occasionally, but justifiably overwrought book... Atran breaks from the conventions to tell us that we have all got it wrong, especially when it comes to suicide terrorism. (Bryan Appleyard The Sunday Times and New Statesman)

Talking to the Enemy is recommendable not just for its vivid insights into the motivation of terrorists, but also for its study of Islamic radicalisation and the anthropology of religion in general. (Michael Bond New Scientist)

What can be done to undo future jihadist networks? Renowned anthropologist Scott Atran has carried out a very thorough study with surprising findings on what motivates those who kill and die. (Luis Miguel Ariza El Pais)

Atran has given us a remarkably honest book, demonstrating that down-to-earth field work can give us a far superior understanding of what makes terrorists 'tick' than whole armies of armchair counter-terrorist 'experts'. (Alex Schmid Perspectives on Terrorism)

Talking to the Enemy is Atran's impassioned call for evidence-based policy, but it's also an ambitious survey of culture and violence... Research is the trump card here, played often and well. (David Shariatmadari Guardian)

Talking to the Enemy sets us - and our governments - straight about a long list of dubious assumptions.... He is sure that we should 'talk before we shoot', that the torture chamber is the wrong place to have this conversation, and that we must learn to distinguish real threats from imagined ones. (Jeremy Harding London Review of Books)

Overall, Talking to the Enemy is a captivating read that carries you from the most personal aspects of terrorists' lives to the socio-historical determinants... despite the study's unparalleled empirical evidence, it reads more like an adventure or mystery novel, than an academic book. But, then again, it might just be that this more captivating presentation of the subject makes us think deeper about it, breaking our stereotypical understanding of violent extremism. (Clara Volintiru LSE) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Scott Atran is a director of research in anthropology at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, France. He is also a research associate and visiting professor in psychology and public policy at the University of Michigan, a Presidential Scholar in Sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and cofounder of ARTIS Research and Risk Modeling. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B004FGN9NK
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin (4 November 2010)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 6284 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 576 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 19 ratings

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F Henwood
4.0 out of 5 stars Less war, more jaw-jaw
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 March 2013
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Peter L. Hurst
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dawkins Delusion
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 May 2013
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 9 December 2016
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Felicity Gibson
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 November 2014
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Kjell Sundberg
4.0 out of 5 stars Anghropology is a good method for understanding jihadism
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 May 2016
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