The New Threat

The Past, Present, and Future of Islamic Militancy

“Essential reading” (Andrew Bacevich) from one of the world’s leading authorities on the roots, reality, and future of modern Muslim extremism

“One of the best reporters and analysts writing in the West about militant Islam. . . . Like all of Burke’s books, this one is cogently argued and well written.” —Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt

From Syria to Somalia, from Libya to Indonesia, from Yemen to the capitals of Europe, Islamic militancy appears stronger, more widespread, and more threatening than ever.

In The New Threat, prizewinning frontline reporter Jason Burke cuts through the mass of opinion and misinformation to explain the nature of the threat we now face. Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize, The New Threat offers insight into the rise of ISIS and other groups, such as Boko Haram, which together command significant military power, rule millions, and control extensive territories. Elsewhere, Al Qaeda remains potent and is rapidly evolving. As a new generation of Western extremists emerges—as seen in the horrifying attacks in Paris and Brussels as well as the “lone wolf” operatives in the United States—Burke argues it is imperative that we understand who these groups are and what they actually want.


“The author brings an unusual clarity to the discussion of this new movement and to his exposition of the theory and practice of Islamic militancy, including its creative uses of the Internet and social media to promote extremist ideologies. Burke covers a lot of important ground in a compact narrative . . . readers looking for a comprehensive guide to this serious global challenge will find this a rewarding, if sobering, read.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A scrupulously researched study based on calm and cogent analysis, compellingly told.”
The National
“This book makes an important contribution to the ongoing effort of writers and journalists to bring news and insight into the global assault on our values, freedoms, and lives.”
The New York Journal of Books
“Compelling and meticulously researched.”
Foreign Affairs
“[Burke is] the most reliable and perceptive guide to the rise of militant Islam.”
—William Dalrymple, author of Nine Lives
“A fine overview [from] one of the shrewdest observers of contemporary Muslim activism. . . . Draws together the strands of a highly complex reality to create a picture that is not just convincing but readable.”
The New York Review of Books
“Raw, wide-ranging and well-informed, this is history written directly from the front line.”
Evening Standard
“Wide-ranging and thought-provoking . . . this timely and well-informed study deserves a wide audience.”
Publishers Weekly
“A much-needed and timely addition to the growing literature on jihadist organizations. It is distinctly different from other books on jihadist organizations in that it puts the Islamic State in the right perspective. It provides a dispassionate analysis of the Islamic State. This book is scholarly and highly readable at the same time. It is a must-read for those who want to defeat Islamic terrorism.”
The Washington Book Review
“Forgive the cliché: This book is essential reading. No hyperbole required. . . . By no means does Burke trivialize the threat or question its existence. But he argues that to treat that threat as existential is to commit a categorical error. So too is any tendency to view Islamic militancy as monolithic or static.”
The American Conservative
“This is the book for which anyone bewildered by the seemingly multifarious nature of Islamic militancy, and longing for a primer, has been waiting.”
—Tom Holland, author of Rubicon and Dynasty
“The book on jihad that Donald Trump needs to read.”
“The most accessible and up-to-date analysis of the development of Islamic militancy. It gives a clear and convincing account of the evolution through the 20th century of the philosophy that seeks to justify this particular brand of terror. . . . Instead of throwing light on the deceptions or ineptitudes of our own leaders in all this . . . Burke keeps his sights fixed on the movements of Islamic militants. The view is consistently fascinating.”
The Guardian

News and Reviews

The Takeaway

The Takeaway interviews Jason Burke about The New Threat.


Read an excerpt of The New Threat on Salon.


Read the starred Kirkus review for The New Threat

The Guardian UK

Jason Burke writes a piece for The Guardian UK on the Islamic State's turn toward global strategic thinking following the Paris attacks


Goodreads Reviews