Close Notification

Your cart does not contain any items

Shatter the Nations

ISIS and the War for the Caliphate

Mike Giglio



In stock
Ready to ship


Public Affairs
10 December 2019
The war against ISIS and the so-called caliphate it declared across Syria and Iraq was a battle to define not just the Middle East but the wider world. Growing from the aftermath of the U.S. war in Iraq and a brutal civil war in Syria, ISIS sought to usher in a new era of conflict as it launched terrorist attacks across Europe, while inflicting a savage extremism on the population in controlled. And the U.S. developed a new kind of war to stop it - one that that relied heavily on the sacrifices of local soldiers who fought on behalf of the American cause. This struggle came to a climax in the Iraqi city of Mosul, the crown jewel of the caliphate, in the deadliest urban combat the world had seen in a generation. Few journalists got as close to the war, and to protagonists on both sides of it, as Mike Giglio, who spent six years reporting on the rise and fall of the ISIS proto-state. He travelled along the Turkey-Syria border with the smugglers and operatives who worked in ISIS's criminal and financial networks, accompanied antiquities traders to visit stolen artefacts that helped to fund the ISIS war effort, sat with human traffickers at the heart of the migrant crisis, and met with ISIS defectors as they tried to free their minds from its grip. He also embedded often with the local soldiers on the front lines of the international effort to stop ISIS, tracking a war effort that saw these soldiers take heavy casualties as U.S. special forces worked in the shadows and U.S. pilots and drone operators dropped bombs. In Mosul, the war's central battle, he travelled in the attacking convoys of elite Kurdish and Iraqi commandos as car bombs plunged into their ranks and ISIS drones dropped grenades. Behind the drama on the battlefield, the suspense was in how much ISIS might change the world before its cities fell and how many of America's allies it could kill along the way. The story is a chilling portrait of the destructive power of extremism and of the tenacity and astonishing courage required to defeat it.
By:   Mike Giglio
Imprint:   Public Affairs
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 236mm,  Width: 156mm,  Spine: 32mm
Weight:   550g
ISBN:   9781541742352
ISBN 10:   1541742354
Pages:   336
Publication Date:   10 December 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Mike Giglio is a Washington, DC-based journalist focused on war, terrorism and national security. He has reported extensively on the conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine and done investigative work on topics such as ISIS's criminal and financial networks and the ways America wages its counter-terrorism campaigns. Previously, he spent five years based in Istanbul as a foreign correspondent for Newsweek and BuzzFeed. His work has twice been a finalist for the Livingston Award and has won the Arthur F. Burns Prize. He is a graduate of Davidson College and native of New York.

Reviews for Shatter the Nations: ISIS and the War for the Caliphate

A PBS NewsHour recommended book for 2019--- Shatter the Nations is a reporter's account of today's Middle East wars that reads like a screenplay. Somehow Mike Giglio avoids cliches while bringing to life the suicide bombers, resistance heroes, militants, and civilians and making sense out of those murky and hideous wars. --Elizabeth Becker, author of When the War Was Over [A] searing debut...[Giglio's] insights into the 'strange ecosystem' of journalists, hustlers, and fixers that operate on the edges of war zones will be of interest even to readers who've had their fill of battle stories. His warning, meanwhile, that many jihadists and their families escaped ISIS territory before coalition forces moved in takes on frightening new relevance as U.S. troops withdraw from the region. Giglio's probing, prescient narrative illuminates the global repercussions of a murky conflict. --Publishers Weekly [Giglio] beautifully unravels the rise and fall of the Islamic State...Their caliphate, and their quest to conquer, is beautifully outlined in Shatter the Nations...What makes Shatter the Nations unique is Giglio's expansive visual story line. He's a skilled reporter, but where he shines is in his storytelling. Giglio constructs a narrative following a group of unlikely characters who came together to fight for and against ISIS, and his access is enviable. He is tenacious and persistent as he moves through dangerous territory; his network would leave an intelligence officer envious (and probably did), and his information is chilling. --Janine di Giovanni, AirMail A compelling and deeply reported narrative that explains how ISIS will have a lasting effect not just on the region but on the wider world. This is a distinguished, firsthand account that covers all sides of the conflict with the terror group--which is rare. --Hassan Hassan, author of the New York Times-bestselling ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror An epic war story: bravely reported, brilliantly written, shot through with humanity. --Tim Weiner, National Book Award-winning author of Legacy of Ashes An excellent and invaluable summation of the complex conflict in the Middle East from 2011-2017, shedding light on the murky circumstances behind so many political soundbites that inadequately cover terrorism and plight of refugees. --Booklist An important read on the rise of the Islamic State and the West's fight to defeat the militant group, reported from the ground through beautifully captured human portraits. --Lauren Katzenberg's year-end book recommendations for The New York Times At War An open wound of a book, as raw and bleeding as the conflict itself. --Rebekah Sanderlin, We Are The Mighty Beautifully written...one of the most important reflections on the war to date. --Murtaza Hussain, the Intercept Giglio has written an engaging and valuable account of the battle against the Islamic State and its regional and international effects. He captures, better than most any other author, the gritty, confusing and often cynical nature of this war fought by local actors on behalf of the United States. Readers who embark with Giglio on his harrowing adventures will gain much from his eye for the details that humanize his tale. --Nicholas Heras, the Washington Post Giglio's Shatter the Nations is more than a brave on-the-ground chronicle of the battle against ISIS-it is a lyrical, thrilling work that stands amongst the best of war literature. --Molly Crabapple, author of Drawing Blood and illustrator of Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War Giglio's writing thrums with the blood pulse of battle...What powers this book more than the chilling accounts of bullets zipping through the air and bombs roaring near and far, however, are the people Giglio encounters and the stories they share. They are the beating heart of this story, and they are truly unforgettable. --Peggy Kurkowski, Open Letters Review The book is like a magnet...he takes the reader along with him, into the coffeehouses and smuggling dens, the restaurants and front lines, from Turkey to Iraq and other countries. --Seth Frantzman, the Jerusalem Post With a reporter's unflinching eye and in a fine writer's clear prose, Mike Giglio has written a hypnotically compelling account of the rise and fall of the blood-drenched ISIS 'caliphate' in the Middle East. Unforgettable. --Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer for the New Yorker Wrenching...a forthright account by an invested journalist unafraid to ask key questions about the many ramifications of the conflict. --Kirkus Reviews Mike Giglio has done some great investigative reporting in the Middle East, but he's also the intrepid newsman ready to go to the worst place in the world. His account of the battle for Mosul, where ISIS threw everything it had at Iraqi special forces, including mortars, drone-fired grenades and suicide bomb vehicles, is hair-raising and unforgettable. --Roy Gutman, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter

See Also