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Last Updated: Monday, 24 January, 2005, 15:53 GMT
Power of Nightmares background
By Adam Curtis
Writer, Producer and Narrator, The Power of Nightmares

The Power of Nightmares - first screened in Autumn 2004 - explored how the idea that we are threatened by a hidden and organised terrorist network is largely an illusion. Many viewers asked the series creator, Adam Curtis to detail any books covering the ideas in the series and filling in the background.

For Islamism the best books are:

  • Jihad - The Trail of Political Islam by Gilles Kepel and his earlier book, The Prophet and the Pharaoh
  • The best insight into the ideas behind all this are in the writings of Sayyid Qutb - in particular Milestones (also translated as Signposts Along the Road)
  • Olivier Roy - The Failure of Political Islam and Globalized Islam.
  • Jason Burke - Al Qaeda

By far the best book on Afghanistan is The Fragmentation of Afghanistan by Barnett Rubin and his follow up called The Search for Peace in Afghanistan.

And Zawahiri's own account of the struggle which is actually very revealing - It is translated as Knight's under the Prophet's Banner. (I think you can still find it on the internet).

For the history of Neoconservatism try:

  • The Rise of the Counterestablishment by Sidney Blumenthal
  • Neoconservatism by Irving Kristol
  • Leo Strauss and the American Right - Shadia Drury
  • Antiliberalism by Stephen Holmes
  • Recasting Conservatism by Robert Devigne
  • Neoconservatism by Irving Kristol
  • The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom

And for the weirdness of the 1990s:

  • Blinded by the Right - David Brock
  • The Gang of Five - The Leaders at the Centre of the Conservative Ascendancy - Nina Easton

Adam Curtis wrote, produced and narrated the series, Power of Nightmares first broadcast on BBC Two in Autumn 2004 and repeated in January 2005.

His other work for the BBC includes The Century of the Self, The Mayfair Set, Pandora's Box, The Living Dead and An Ocean Apart.

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