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Home » Books » Nonfiction » Politics » Freedom & Security » Terrorism

American Traitor

The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda's U.S.-Born Leader Adam Gadahn

By Steven Stalinsky

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Format: Hardcover, 496 pages
Published In: United States, 23 April 2017
No other Westerner, let alone American, has been closer to the leadership of Al-Qaeda than Adam Gadahn, aka "Azzam the American." The California-raised Gadahn was a media trailblazer for Al-Qaeda; he used his video production skills in the service of terrorism, creating videos for Osama bin Laden and other top leaders of the organization, and crafting the organization's earliest outreach and recruitment video content. Steven Stalinsky, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), has provided us with essential background on Gadahn, including what we know of his upbringing in the U.S., his conversion to Islam and radicalization, his move to Pakistan, the translation and video work he did for Al-Qaeda, and how he became increasingly accepted by Al-Qaeda's top echelons - including the architects of 9/11. This book is a chilling presentation of the mind of a terrorist. Adam Gadahn's work as a leading spokesman for Al-Qaeda is presented in comprehensive detail - up until his death in January 2015 in a U.S. government counterterrorism operation, the details of which are still little known. Stalinsky has had access to the most valuable sources of information regarding Gadahn's life and work, including from MEMRI's vast archives of jihadi texts to his official indictment for treason - the first American to be so indicted since World War II. Al-Qaeda's confirmation of Gadahn's death came two months after it made headlines in the West - in a lengthy in-depth interview with him published by Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent Resurgence. The interview, prepared in advance for publication in the event of his martyrdom, provided a great deal of autobiographical information about his life and work, filling in the blanks in many areas that were previously not known. When ISIS split off from Al-Qaeda - which sent seismic waves through the jihadi world - it was Gadahn who presented the ideological dispute to an English-speaking audience; his explanations of the differences between the groups is an important watershed in the history of jihad in the 15 years since 9/11. Steven Stalinsky's presentation of Adam Gadahn's story is a vital addition to the literature about the event and its aftermath, and is essential reading for all those who seek to better understand the constant threat of terrorism in our world today.

Reviews

Another remarkable work by Steve Stalinsky, and by MEMRI. American Traitor lays out in great detail what U.S.-born leader of Al-Qaeda thinks and says. In true professional fashion, the book allows Adam Gadahn to condemn himself. It constitutes chilling, but necessary, reading for anyone who truly wants to understand the threats to our welfare. -Michael Hayden, former Director of the CIA and NSA, former Principal National Intelligence Director, and USAF four-star general (retired) It has been about a year since the White House announced that Adam Gadahn, Al-Qaeda's California-born spokesman, had been killed in a drone attack in Waziristan. In this exhaustively researched book tracing Gadahn's life, what emerges is an account of how Al-Qaeda, and by extension its offshoot ISIS, absorbs and uses western converts like Gadahn as propaganda missiles aimed at Western civilization...American Traitor not only reviews the by-now fairly unremarkable progression of a teenager from heavy-metal aficionado to sociopath, but also the way that Islamist terrorists can and do use such people to inspire and recruit. This is both a fascinating and a useful book. -Michael Mukasey, former Attorney General of the United States American Traitor tells the troubling story of a young man who left his home in Southern California to become a key spokesman for Al-Qaeda, appearing in official videos of the terrorist organization and inspiring recruits. Using Adam Gadahn's own words, plus the words of Al-Qaeda's top leaders and interviews of Gadahn's family, Steve Stalinsky provides a fascinating and in-depth look at Gadahn's beliefs - beliefs that led him to call for blood to flow in the streets of his homeland. American Traitor is must reading for anyone who wants to understand why they fight us and why the war on terror has no end in sight. -Dorothy Denning, Distinguished Professor of Defense Analysis, Naval Postgraduate School Steve Stalinsky has done a first rate job in analyzing the origins and influence of one of Al-Qaeda's key media manipulators. Stalinsky charts how an American boy, born into a reclusive Oregon family and with Jewish roots on his father's side, rose to become Osama bin Laden's media adviser who helped to bring hundreds of Muslims to jihad and terrorism. Stalinsky expertly uses Adam Gadahn's own words to provide a first-hand insight into his transition from Californian misfit to American traitor. -Robert Verkaik, author of Jihadi John: The Making of a Terrorist Debut author Stalinsky offers a profile of an American who became an al-Qaida operative. Adam Pearlman's story begins with his upbringing in rural California, where he, along with his siblings, was home-schooled on the family farm....At the age of 16, however, his life took an abrupt turn...he converted to Islam and changed his name to Adam Gadahn. As he explained in an essay at the time, "I discovered that the beliefs and practices of this religion fit my personal theology." Following his conversion, he fell under the influence of a group of "radical jihadists" in the area, eventually traveling to Pakistan and becoming "Azzam the American." With this new persona, now bearded and frequently brandishing a weapon, Gadahn would help shape al-Qaida's propaganda wing, appearing in and producing numerous videos over the years. These videos would get the attention of audiences ranging from would-be terrorists to U.S. government operatives, and they'd eventually lead to charges of treason and death by drone-strike. However, [the book] is at its best when laying bare Gadahn's message over the years....[Stalinsky's book] makes for a truly unnerving examination of a real-life enemy of the state. -Kirkus ReviewsAnother remarkablework by Steve Stalinsky, and by MEMRI. American Traitor lays out in great detail what U.S.-born leader of Al-Qaeda thinks and says. In true professional fashion, the book allows Adam Gadahn to condemn himself. It constitutes chilling, but necessary, reading for anyone who truly wants to understand the threats to our welfare. -Michael Hayden, former Director of the CIA and NSA, former Principal National Intelligence Director, and USAF four-star general (retired)It has been about a year since the White House announced that Adam Gadahn, Al-Qaeda's California-born spokesman, had been killed in a drone attack in Waziristan. In this exhaustively researched book tracing Gadahn's life, what emerges is an account of how Al-Qaeda, and by extension its offshoot ISIS, absorbs and uses western converts like Gadahn as propaganda missiles aimed at Western civilization...American Traitor not only reviews the by-now fairly unremarkable progression of a teenager from heavy-metal aficionado to sociopath, but also the way that Islamist terrorists can and do use such people to inspire and recruit. This is both a fascinating and a useful book. -Michael Mukasey, former Attorney General of the United StatesAmerican Traitor tells the troubling story of a young man who left his home in Southern California to become a key spokesman for Al-Qaeda, appearing in official videos of the terrorist organization and inspiring recruits. Using Adam Gadahn's own words, plus the words of Al-Qaeda's top leaders and interviews of Gadahn's family, Steve Stalinsky provides a fascinating and in-depth look at Gadahn's beliefs - beliefs that led him to call for blood to flow in the streets of his homeland. American Traitor is must reading for anyone who wants to understand why they fight us and why the war on terror has no end in sight. -Dorothy Denning, Distinguished Professor of Defense Analysis, Naval Postgraduate SchoolSteve Stalinsky has done a first rate job in analyzing the origins and influence of one of Al-Qaeda's key media manipulators. Stalinsky charts how an American boy, born into a reclusive Oregon family and with Jewish roots on his father's side, rose to become Osama bin Laden's media adviser who helped to bring hundreds of Muslims to jihad and terrorism. Stalinsky expertly uses Adam Gadahn's own words to provide a first-hand insight into his transition from Californian misfit to American traitor. -Robert Verkaik, author of Jihadi John: The Making of a Terrorist Another remarkable work by Steve Stalinsky, and by MEMRI. American Traitor lays out in great detail what U.S.-born leader of Al-Qaeda thinks and says. In true professional fashion, the book allows Adam Gadahn to condemn himself. It constitutes chilling, but necessary, reading for anyone who truly wants to understand the threats to our welfare. -Michael Hayden, former Director of the CIA and NSA, former Principal National Intelligence Director, and USAF four-star general (retired) It has been about a year since the White House announced that Adam Gadahn, Al-Qaeda's California-born spokesman, had been killed in a drone attack in Waziristan. In this exhaustively researched book tracing Gadahn's life, what emerges is an account of how Al-Qaeda, and by extension its offshoot ISIS, absorbs and uses western converts like Gadahn as propaganda missiles aimed at Western civilization...American Traitor not only reviews the by-now fairly unremarkable progression of a teenager from heavy-metal aficionado to sociopath, but also the way that Islamist terrorists can and do use such people to inspire and recruit. This is both a fascinating and a useful book. -Michael Mukasey, former Attorney General of the United States American Traitor tells the troubling story of a young man who left his home in Southern California to become a key spokesman for Al-Qaeda, appearing in official videos of the terrorist organization and inspiring recruits. Using Adam Gadahn's own words, plus the words of Al-Qaeda's top leaders and interviews of Gadahn's family, Steve Stalinsky provides a fascinating and in-depth look at Gadahn's beliefs - beliefs that led him to call for blood to flow in the streets of his homeland. American Traitor is must reading for anyone who wants to understand why they fight us and why the war on terror has no end in sight. -Dorothy Denning, Distinguished Professor of Defense Analysis, Naval Postgraduate School Steve Stalinsky has done a first rate job in analyzing the origins and influence of one of Al-Qaeda's key media manipulators. Stalinsky charts how an American boy, born into a reclusive Oregon family and with Jewish roots on his father's side, rose to become Osama bin Laden's media adviser who helped to bring hundreds of Muslims to jihad and terrorism. Stalinsky expertly uses Adam Gadahn's own words to provide a first-hand insight into his transition from Californian misfit to American traitor. -Robert Verkaik, author of Jihadi John: The Making of a Terrorist

EAN: 9780967848020
ISBN: 0967848024
Publisher: Memri Books
Dimensions: 22.91 x 15.19 x 2.69 centimetres (0.81 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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