Children of Jihad: A Young American's Travels among the Youth of the Middle East

Children of Jihad: A Young American's Travels among the Youth of the Middle East

by Jared Cohen


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Defying foreign government orders and interviewing terrorists face to face, a young American tours hostile lands to learn about Middle Eastern youth? and uncovers a subculture that defies every stereotype.

In 2004, Jared Cohen embarked on the first of a series of incredible journeys to the Middle East in an effort to understand the spread of radical Islamist violence among Muslim youth. The result is Children of Jihad, a portrait of paradox that probes much deeper than any journalist or pundit ever could.

Chosen as one of Kirkus Review's Best Books of 2007, Cohen's account begins in Lebanon, where he interviews Hezbollah members at, of all places, a McDonald's. In Iran, he defies government threats and sneaks into underground parties, where bootleg liquor, Western music, and the Internet are all easy to access. His risky itinerary also takes him to a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, borderlands in Syria, the insurgency hotbed of Mosul, and other front-line locales. At each turn, he observes a culture at an uncanny crossroads. Gripping and daring, Children of Jihad shows us the future through the eyes of those who are shaping it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781592403998
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/26/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 - 14 Years

About the Author

After witnessing the awful aftermath of decades of sectarian aggression and radical Islamist violence, Jared Cohen decided that he must go to the Middle East to better understand the phenomenon. After extensively studying Arabic and the history of the Middle East, he journeyed into the region and reached out to the youth in the area, putting himself in danger in order to understand their culture and views on government, Israel, and America. Children of Jihad is Cohen’s account of his travels and interviews with the people he met.
In September 2006, he was named the youngest member to the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff, where he focused on counter-terrorism, counter-radicalization, and Middle East/North Africa issues. Prior to his work at the State Department, Cohen received his BA from Stanford University and continued his education at the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Currently, he is the director of Google Ideas and is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He also serves as a member of the National Counterterrorism Center’s Director’s Advisory Board.
Jared Cohen is also the author of One Hundred Days of Silence and most recently co-authored The New Digital Age, with Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google.

Table of Contents

Prologue     1
Destination Iran     9
Removing the Shackles     30
Democracy after Dark     49
Nuclear Pride     73
"Death to America"     85
The Calm Before the Storm     108
The All-Night "Party of God"     137
Struggling for Dignity     156
Babies in the Ba'ath Party     177
The Road to Mesopotamia     203
Iraqis Who Like Us     224
Waking Up in the Insurgency     252
Epilogue: The Youth Party     266
Acknowledgments     276

What People are Saying About This

Vali Nasr

"In this remarkable book Cohen provides a fresh perspective on the Middle East. Seen through the eyes of the youth, and poignantly describing their hopes and despairs, Cohen provides a timely commentary on the troubled relations between America and the Middle East. Looking at the habits and passions that binds the youth across the cultural divide as well as the politics that which divides them this book provides much food for thought for Americans and Middle Easterners alike."--(Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam will Shape the Future)

Zbigniew Brzezinski

"An enlightening and entertaining story that is part travelogue and part cultural analysis. Gaining insights through simple conversation, Cohen paints a compelling picture of the politically awakened youth of the Middle East."--(Zbigniew Brzezinski, Former National Security Advisor)

Frank Carlucci

"Jared Cohen has written a unique book. Imagine a young American circulating in the back alleys and cafes of Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Palestinian refugee camps, and Iraq meeting other youth on their terms and asking pointed questions about their aspirations, concerns and attitudes toward their rulers and toward the United States. There are breathtaking descriptions of flirting with danger and fascinating dialogues that provide deep insights into the politics and sociology of four key countries in the Middle East. It is a fascinating read, which I recommend to anyone who wants to develop a better understanding of the Middle East and the Arab world."--(Frank Carlucci, Former Secretary of Defense)

Chris Matthews

"This young gutsy writer knows that the East-West struggle is being fought over the cafe tables of the Near and Middle East. Do the youth of the Islamic world dream of an engineering degree from Michigan State or a martyr's death? This young American has had the moxie to sit and listen for hours at those tables. In the words of the poet, Jared Cohen has taken the road 'less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.'"--(Chris Matthews, Host of MSNBC's "Hardball" and NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show")

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Children of Jihad: A Young American's Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
Jared Cohen was young when he wrote this, and so can be forgiven some of his more obnoxious asides, but I grew to appreciate his relentless inquisitiveness on political issues, and to appreciate the almost verbatim conversations. Obviously he took the time to make notes shortly after his encounters, so as to remember clearly. I believe the transcriptions are largely true, judging from the ordinariness of most of the responses to his questions. I came to appreciate his eye, as he grew in knowledge as the trip progressed. I see the value in the trip and the writing of it. I think one of the most astonishing revelations for me was the outrageous behaviors of Iranian youth, despite the overhang of the oppressive government we are used to seeing. In addition, the satellite receivers that the desert Bedouin of Syria use was a revelation. These folks don't seem so remote, and I'm sure we don't seem so remote to them, either. Now, if we can just hook up Afghanistan so that they can watch "Office" if they want.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Children of Jihad is an enlightening book that gives us hope for America's relationship with the Middle East. The author shows infinite possibilities to bridge the gap between the youths of both America and the Middle East. Similarities between two are as shocking. Moreover, the guts the author demonstrates during his adventure are impressive! This book presents realistic opportunities both groups can take advantage of to shift the views of one another. I highly recommend this book! It's a page turner!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cohen in his brilliant book dives into an oft-misunderstood cross section of society, walking an untrodden path through the hopes and fears of this critically-important segment of the world. A must-read book.
Samiyah More than 1 year ago
Jared Cohen makes it seem like arabs have no freedom especially the children of Jihad muslim-arab people such as myself are happy of their way of lives. We are fine with wearing hijabs or covering up all over there is no reason to show anything f ourselves so w are fine with what the Qur'an says about how we should ive our lives. Mr. Cohen interviews children of Iran which they themselves dont consider themselves arab so what does Iranian kids have to do with Arab culture. In reality in Middle east we follow the Qur'an and Islamic laws. Children do have the ability to play games hangout with same-sex fiends and to live a normal muslim arab life. Which i obviously different than American way of life or adults and children. I think an Arab who knows their religion and culture should write a book about the same thing and truthful facts!!!