“Gripping, sobering and revelatory... worthy of Joseph Conrad. As an articulation of the visceral quality of the movement’s appeal and the sheer colour and excitement with which, for true believers, it succeeds in endowing the world, Wood's book is unrivalled.”

—Tom Holland, The New Statesman

“Graeme Wood is America’s foremost interpreter of ISIS as a world-historical phenomenon. In The Way of the Strangers, he has given us the definitive work to date on the origins, plans, and meaning of the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization. Wood is a fearless, relentlessly curious, and magnetically interesting writer who takes us on an intellectual and theological journey to the darkest places on the planet, yet he manages to do this without despairing for our collective future. This book is a triumph of journalism.”

—Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief, The Atlantic

“Wood is a gifted storyteller.... He plunges into the thickets of extremist theology, giving it voice through an eclectic sampling of its most committed practitioners. Wood's account is unrivaled in the breadth and depth of its exposition.”

—John Waterbury, Foreign Affairs

“Indispensable and gripping . . . Graeme Wood’s quest to understand the Islamic State is a round-the-world journey to the end of the night. As individuals, the men he encounters are misfits, even losers. But their millenarian Islamist ideology makes them the most dangerous people on the planet.”

—Niall Ferguson, Stanford University, author of The War of the World

“What makes [The Way of the Strangers] such interesting reading is that Wood sets out in the best journalistic tradition to understand who these people are, where they come from, how they got there, and what makes them tick. Wood knows what he is talking about; if you want to read in one place a discourse on the competing branches of Islam [...] this is your book.”

—Amb. Dennis Ross, former Middle East envoy, NPR

“As with any enemy, the best way to defeat the Islamic State is to understand it. And to do that, the best place to start is a new book by Graeme Wood, The Way of the Strangers, which gives us the best insight yet into what makes the Islamic State tick. [It] is a series of gripping, fascinating portraits. The book's characters show themselves at turns to be both human and repellent. As one reads, one wants less to direct a drone strike against them, and more to shake them out of their worldview around a cup of tea.”

—Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, The Week

“Over the course of its short life, the Islamic State has inspired millions, thousands of whom have rallied to its cause in search of a glorious death. But why? Are its devotees nothing more than sadists and two-bit mafiosi for whom religion is a fig leaf and who will fade away in the face of military defeat? In this essential book, Graeme Wood draws on more than a decade of reporting to demolish these and other comforting deceptions.”

—Reihan Salam, executive editor, National Review

“Ten New Books We Recommend This Week”

“Hugely important... An indispensable book.”

—David Aaronovitch, The Times (UK)

“In the past decade, Wood has traversed time zones to document ISIS’s global allure, notably for Atlantic magazine. In this book he scrupulously records how religion pervades the mission of the terrorist group [and] provides careful scholarship of the splits within Islam as well as jihadi groups.”

—Christine Spolar, Financial Times