The rise of ISIS has stunned the world — massacres and beheadings, fallen cities, collapsed and collapsing states, the unravelling of a decade of foreign policy and military strategy. In David Kilcullen’s words, ‘What the hell happened?’ Read this book to find out.
Winner of the 2015 Walkley Award for long-form feature writing.
Blood Yearis an unsparingly honest, self-critical analysis of the collapse of Western counterterrorism strategy and the subsequent rise of Islamic State. As a soldier, counterterrorism official, and Chief Strategist in the US State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism, David Kilcullen was one of the key designers of US and allied counterterrorism policy.
Kilcullen’s frank assessment — that the strategy he helped design has failed, that it has not made us safer, and has contributed to new threats, including Islamic State — makes this short book mandatory reading for anyone interested in how terrorism is confronted. The most startling part of his analysis is that there may be worse dangers than ISIS incubating in various parts of the world.
‘David Kilcullen is one of the world’s leading theorists of counterinsurgency; his comprehensive experience in the field, in Iraq and elsewhere, makes him uniquely qualified to analyse the emergence of ISIS. Blood Year combines elements of memoir, reportage, and trenchant analysis to provide a highly accessible, vividly written account that is a model of both clarity and rigour.’ — Peter Bergen, author of United States of Jihad and Manhunt
‘Blood Year is a scintillating reflection on the rapidly evolving wars in and around the Middle East. Crisply written and forcefully argued, Kilcullen’s book challenges all sides in the contentious debate over America’s role in the region and the world.’ — Marc Lynch, Professor of Political Science, George Washington University and author of The New Arab Wars: Uprisings and Anarchy in the Middle East