The Last Refuge by Gregory Johnsen
Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia

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“The best new book on al Qaeda . . . and the best book on Yemen in years.”—Bruce Riedel, Daily Beast

Far from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States and al-Qaeda are fighting a clandestine war of drones and suicide bombers in an unforgiving corner of Arabia.

The Last Refuge charts the rise, fall, and resurrection of al-Qaeda in Yemen over the last thirty years, detailing how a group that the United States once defeated has now become one of the world’s most dangerous threats. An expert on Yemen who has spent years on the ground there, Gregory D. Johnsen uses al-Qaeda’s Arabic battle notes to reconstruct their world as they take aim at the United States and its allies. Johnsen brings readers in-side al-Qaeda’s training camps and safe houses as the terrorists plot poison attacks and debate how to bring down an airliner on Christmas Day. The Last Refuge is an eye-opening look at the successes and failures of fighting a new type of war in one of the most turbulent countries in the world.

About Gregory Johnsen

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Gregory D. Johnsen, a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen, is a PhD candidate at Princeton University. A frequent guest on NPR, he has contributed essays to the New York Times. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
Published November 19, 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company. 375 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Bearing more resemblance to a John le Carré potboiler than a political or historical primer, the book includes pages of operational details of plots hatched both by the militants and the intelligence agents working to capture them.

Nov 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qa...

Publishers Weekly

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As the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden and many high-level al-Qaeda operatives, Yemen has long held a powerful appeal for jihadis: its remote and unforgiving terrain, weak central government, and shifting tribal rivalries make it more like outlaw-friendly Afghanistan than any other Arab country.

Aug 27 2012 | Read Full Review of The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qa...


A decentralized structure of compartmentalized cells has orchestrated a steady stream of attacks against Americans, tourists, the oil industry and Yemeni “collaborators.” The U.S. found a sometimes ally in Yemen’s then-president, Ali Abdullah Salih, who released many jihadis in 2003-04 in a fail...

Jan 18 2013 | Read Full Review of The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qa...

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Nov 09 2012 | Read Full Review of The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qa...

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