The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution. Patrick Cockburn. London: Verso, 2015. Pp. 172.


Well before it carried out spectacular terrorist attacks in the French capital on November 13, 2015, which killed more than 160 people and sent shockwaves across the globe, ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) had come to be recognised as the most powerful and lethal terrorist group in the world. ISIS had earned this notoriety due to its merciless treatment of its opponents, primarily the minorities and the women. The ISIS’ dramatic rise has created immense interest among Western policy makers, academics and journalists to understand the reasons behind its emergence and rise. This interest has resulted in a plethora of policy papers, newspaper features and books, which have looked at the phenomenon from a variety of angles. Patrick Cockburn’s is among the latest of such books.

Cockburn, a veteran British correspondent, who has covered Middle East for such prestigious newspapers as the Financial Times and the Independent, and has penned three books on Iraq’s recent history, tries in his own way to explain the dramatic rise of ISIS. Cockburn marshals his deep and up-to-date knowledge of developments in Iraq and Syria to narrate the story of ISIS’s rise in a compelling way.

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