Alexander Thurston is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati. He was an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations between 2013-14, and has also held fellowships with the Wilson Center and the American Council of Learned Societies. He is the author of Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching and Politics (2016) and Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement (2018) which was named by Foreign Affairs as one of the 'Best of Books 2018' and was a finalist for the African Studies Association's Book Prize in 2019.
'Based on hard-won field research, this outstanding book uncovers the hidden politics of jihadist organizations in North Africa and the Sahel. Thurston's masterful study demonstrates that jihadist commanders are political actors facing complex local pressures to adapt and accommodate. An essential read for security scholars and practitioners alike.' Aisha S. Ahmad, University of Toronto 'The question of how to understand jihadi groups - global or local, as entirely distinctive by virtue of their unique ideology or as political groups that face the same basic challenges and opportunities as other insurgencies - has vexed scholars for decades. Thuston's remarkable contribution is to show us how to take them seriously as ideologues and political actors, as believers and sophisticated political entrepreneurs and coalition-builders. In doing so, he offers us a new way to understand why some thrive and grow, and others fracture or fade.' Brandon Kendhammer, Ohio University