Reviews

  • "A deeply reported book of remarkable clarity showing how the flawed rationale for the Iraq War led to the explosive growth of the Islamic State."

    Pulitzer Prize committee
  • "Compelling and authoritative, with the narrative drive of a thriller."

    Guardian
  • "Joby Warrick moves easily through the intelligence warrens of Washington and the shattered landscape of the Middle East to tell this insightful narrative of the rise of the Islamic State. Black Flags is an invaluable guide to an unfolding tragedy that must be understood before it can be ended."

    Lawrence Wright, author of Thirteen Days in September and The Looming Tower
  • "A deep, well-balanced and thought-provoking account with a genuine feel for Middle Eastern realities."

    Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens
  • "Warrick uses very compelling first-hand testimony to reconstruct Zarqawi's short, violent life."

    Literary Review
  • "This is journalism at its best: clear, readable and enlightening."

    The Irish Times
  • "Joby Warrick is one of America's leading national security reporters, so it's no surprise that Black Flags is the most deeply reported and well-written account we have about ISIS and its terrorist army."

    Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad
  • "Invaluable for anyone struggling to understand the gruesome excesses and inexplicable appeal of ISIS. As this seminal book makes alarmingly clear, Zarqawi's appalling legacy won't fade any time soon."

    Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times
  • "Gripping … Warrick has a gift for constructing narratives with a novelistic energy and detail, and in this volume he creates the most revealing portrait yet laid out in a book of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, the founding father of the organization that would become the Islamic State… For readers interested in the roots of the Islamic State and the evil genius of its godfather, there is no better book to begin with than Black Flags."

    The New York Times
  • "Gripping ... a zippy, atmospheric and character-led narrative. It offers a necessary and important backstory to the unfurling of black flags across Syria and Iraq today."

    Shiraz Maher, New Statesman