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The Caravan

Abdallah Azzam and the Rise of Global Jihad

Thomas Hegghammer


The much-awaited book about Abdallah Azzam, one of the jihadi movement's most important figures. It explains why jihadism went international in the 1980s, paving the way for the events of 9/11. Azzam's extraordinary life story makes for compelling reading and should appeal to readers far outside specialist circles.
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The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox

“An instant classic, a work to rank alongside other modern masterpieces of fantasy such as Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials” – The Guardian

Abdallah Azzam, the Palestinian cleric who led the mobilization of Arab fighters to Afghanistan in the 1980s, played a crucial role in the internationalization of the jihadi movement. Killed in mysterious circumstances in 1989 in Peshawar, Pakistan, he remains one of the most influential jihadi ideologues of all time. Here, in the first in-depth biography of Azzam, Thomas Hegghammer explains how Azzam came to play this role and why jihadism went global at this particular time. It traces Azzam's extraordinary life journey from a West Bank village to the battlefields of Afghanistan, telling the story of a man who knew all the leading Islamists of his time and frequented presidents, CIA agents, and Cat Stevens the pop star. It is, however, also a story of displacement, exclusion, and repression that suggests that jihadism went global for fundamentally local reasons.
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Book publisherCambridge University Press
Publication date5 Mar 2020
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