[Download] Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS By Joby Warrick

Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS

By: Joby Warrick
Narrated by: Sunil Malhotra
Length: 13 hours
Release date: Sep 29, 2015
Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (145 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)
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WINNER OF THE 2016 PULITZER PRIZE FOR GENERAL NONFICTION



“A Best Book of 2015”—The New York Times, The Washington Post, People Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Kansas City Star, and Kirkus Reviews



In a thrilling dramatic narrative, awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, Joby Warrick traces how the strain of militant Islam behind ISIS first arose in a remote Jordanian prison and spread with the unwitting aid of two American presidents.



When the government of Jordan granted amnesty to a group of political prisoners in 1999, it little realized that among them was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist mastermind and soon the architect of an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East. In Black Flags, an unprecedented character-driven account of the rise of ISIS, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick shows how the zeal of this one man and the strategic mistakes of Presidents Bush and Obama led to the banner of ISIS being raised over huge swaths of Syria and Iraq.


Zarqawi began by directing terror attacks from a base in northern Iraq, but it was the American invasion in 2003 that catapulted him to the head of a vast insurgency. By falsely identifying him as the link between Saddam and bin Laden, U.S. officials inadvertently spurred like-minded radicals to rally to his cause. Their wave of brutal beheadings and suicide bombings persisted until American and Jordanian intelligence discovered clues that led to a lethal airstrike on Zarqawi’s hideout in 2006.


His movement, however, endured. First calling themselves al-Qaeda in Iraq, then Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, his followers sought refuge in unstable, ungoverned pockets on the Iraq-Syria border. When the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, and as the U.S. largely stood by, ISIS seized its chance to pursue Zarqawi’s dream of an ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate.


Drawing on unique high-level access to CIA and Jordanian sources, Warrick weaves gripping, moment-by-moment operational details with the perspectives of diplomats and spies, generals and heads of state, many of whom foresaw a menace worse than al Qaeda and tried desperately to stop it. Black Flags is a brilliant and definitive history that reveals the long arc of today’s most dangerous extremist threat.


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70 Responses to “[Download] Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS By Joby Warrick”

  1. Isidro Mahlum

    Must read book
    Anyone who is remotely interested in the Middle Eastern politics and events must read this book. It shows the roots of ISIS (or ISIL or Daesh) and how they started, grew, what events helped them, who was behind their initial ideology, their impact on Iraq and Syria, until they took over Mosul and its treasures and piles of arms, and the public announcement of the Islamic khalifate.
    I didn’t however like the narrator. He was very slow and monotonous.

  2. Tien Kotara

    Brilliant writing and Brilliant narration
    Thoroughly enjoyed the book. The writing was brilliant as was the narration. This is service at its best. A perfect blend of good writing and good narration. Thanks to the team behind this book.

  3. David Sackett

    A very helpful and entertaining introduction
    Narration was great. Story was great. I really think I understand this stuff now. Thx

  4. Wilber Shimko

    Good perspective on the rise of ISIS.
    I enjoyed the perspective posed through a Jordanian lens. I found this very informative.

  5. Yadira Melear

    unbelievable, must read!
    everything from the detailed history to the narrative storytelling was outstanding. If you really want to understand the rise of Isis, read this book.

  6. Carl A. Gallozzi

    Good read – benefitted from more context
    Would you consider the audio edition of Black Flags to be better than the print version?

  7. Randy Tetzlaff

    Absolutely brilliant!
    Very informative. Brilliantly written. Very well narrated. One stop for anyone wanting to know about the origins and rise of ISIS.

  8. Customer

    EXCELLENT
    This nonfiction work read like a thriller. Warrick used a wide range of first-hand accounts, described in gritty, often horrific detail to illustrate the rise of a relevant and growing threat the world has come to face today.

  9. Judson Cyphert

    Very insightful
    A must read for anyone in America who wishes to know why our tax bought bombs are dropping on ISIS

  10. Tyler

    Very well spoken
    Well spoken easy to follow and kept me waiting for more. Would recommend it to anyone looking to understand Isis

  11. Eduardo Holiman

    not enough everyday ppl understand this issue
    This read like a great long form article. It explained in detail the events in a way that someone with basic knowledge of the subject could understand and benefit from its intended message/lessons. It married the testimony of key players with events in harmony. Everyone who wants to have an opinion on what America’s role in going after ISIS should read this book before deciding their opinions.

  12. Hermine Carrecter

    Thoughtful and disturbing
    I’ve read many books on and around the subject of the first Gulf War, America’s involvement in the Middle East post 9/11 and the gradual implosion of Arab nations in the wake of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’. I’ve delved into the intrusive involvement of colonial powers from which the region’s troubles can be partially attributed, and the failure of so called ‘civilized’ nations to respond appropriately to dispossessed populations and refugees at the end of the Second World War, that gave birth to modern Israel, adding sparks to an already unstable part of the world.

    But until now I had not listened to a book that painted such a depressing picture of how the ‘new world order’ is unfolding…and how hopeless it seems to be to seek tolerance and reconciliation in a world of differing opinions and wildly divergent personal, local, regional and national agendas.

    Joby Warrick presents a frightening but well crafted and riveting window into a world that we, as privileged Westerners, rarely if ever see except in brief video clips and sound bites. He paints a picture of an ongoing cycle of ambition, manipulation, brutality and religious misrepresentation that is as jaw-dropping as it is fascinating.

    Aided by the clear and compelling narration of Sunil Malhotra, the 13 hours of this book flew by. And I’m left at the end frantically searching for more information and another book that can continue to develop the subject matter and maintain the standards of do this extremely thought provoking and well written book.

  13. Denae Knisley

    Should be required reading!
    This book really points out the mistakes that can be made by governments when they focus too heavily on politics and not people. It was a very interesting historical account and was organized very coherently. The narrator gave an authenticity to the story that kept me interested, even through a few drab parts. Well done! I recommend this to anyone who thinks they understand what’s going on with conflict in the middle east.

  14. Nayef S

    Good book from a western point of view
    Great book in exploring how ISIS started. I didn’t like the fact that it didn’t go deep enough into the ideology of ISIS and how the quotation “black flags that come from the east…” Hadith was actually a warning by the prophet Mohammed, and the remaining of the Hadith actually commands Muslims to kill the black flags army.

    My second dislike on the narrator, was his inability to pronounce the Arabic words properly, considering it’s a book on the Middle East.

    The author explained briefly in the epilogue how Arab dictators jails accompanied with American bombs attributed to the creation of ISIS. this should have been talked about more.

  15. Conrad Headlon

    Great book, phenomenal narration
    This information dense book listened like a dream. Puts context around current events in the Middle East.

  16. Rumi Faizer

    riveting story.if only it were just a story
    fascinating and painful in depth account of three north of Islamic extremists. feels best researched and most compelling in the first three quarters. most recent part can’t be as deeply studied. what a great audio though.

  17. Agueda Mesplay

    Distracted by the Performance
    I could not make it through the entire book because I became to distracted and frustrated with all the mispronunciations by the narrator. I suppose it’s okay if you don’t know how things are meant to be pronounced, but it was too much for me.

  18. Deidra Gradle

    Thrilling nonfiction bloodthirsty extremists
    This was one of those books that I had trouble putting down and whenever I did I caught myself thinking about it.

    ISIS has become a major presence in our world, especially in the media. In modern times they are unique in their bloodlust and their non-compromising effort to conquer the world and make their subjects live according to the strictest of Sharia. Though their cause and their actions are, in the opinion of any sane person, despicable – it is hard not to be a bit curious about them. Who are the people that created ISIS? Do they really believe all the things they say or is it a Machiavellian strategy similar to what exists in North Korea? And how do they manage to attract people to come and fight for their cause despite the fact that there is a good chance they will die?

    These questions and many others, receive at least partial answers in this book. Thankfully, the author avoids the pitfall of writing a strictly chronological encyclopedic account of how ISIS developed and grew. Rather the book is focused on the stories of people who have somehow been involved with ISIS. This includes the story of an American soldier in Iraq, an American intelligence officer, Prince Abdullah of Jordan, the cynic Bashar Al Assad of Syria, and of course the Jordanian crook who became a religious extremist in prison and later, when Bin Laden did not want to partner with him because he was in favor of killing innocent Shia Muslims, founded ISIS i.e., Abu Musab az-Zarqawi.

    In short, this book was an expected masterpiece. There are few books that are as thrilling and educational at same time as this book. If you are curious about ISIS, this should be your number one choice.

  19. Soon A.

    Well-written and narrated!
    An important historical account on the origins of ISIS. An important read in current times.

  20. Scott Lamantagne

    Great story and really in depth.
    Really great in depth coverage from start to finish. It covered alot of great aspects from the larger picture and didnt just bog down with one specific region.

  21. Vaughn Scierka

    Very informative and disturbing.
    Everyone should read this book. The history of the rise of Isis from Al-Qaeda.
    Every thing our government has done to try to help the Middle East has been a disaster. One bad decision after another. Both Democrats and Republicans. We just replaced one bad leader with a worse one time & time again.

  22. Shaun Dellbringge

    Outstanding insite
    Every American should read this story about the rose of the Islamic State. We as a nation are ignorant of this radical faction of Islam and need to understand how our own government help it to rise. Thank you to the author for such a great story about terror in our world.

  23. Tonita Sakkas

    Incredibly informative and intelligent
    an in depth look at the origins of the shit show that we are currently dealing with in the middle East.

  24. Jani B.

    fascinating!
    So much information! This really puts all the pieces together. Wish it had a few more chapters.

  25. David

    Informative and Interesting
    I finished this with a greater understanding of the origins of ISIS and the history of the Middle Eastern countries and their culture and traditions.

    It was great to hear at the ending many of the leaders in the Muslim countries and religion denounce ISIS and their actions.

  26. Kirstie Schier

    I wanted to get thru it, but…
    I think a different narrator might have helped, but the details, perhaps because of the subject, lulled me into a state where I just wasn’t hearing anything anymore. It was a textbook, which is not necessarily a criticism, and I wanted to know this history. However, I like to know enough about a few characters to become engaged. They all became just names to me who did primarily bad things. I felt the author did not dig into the why.

  27. Darrell Hulton

    essential reading
    I’m getting ready to deploy overseas right now, and this book help me understand the conflict in a much greater depth.

  28. Joanna Jewkes

    Insightful
    Very impressed with the detail provided for such recent events. Incredible journalism and narration. Simple to understand, more people need to read this book before talking about this regions incredibly complex history.

  29. Claretha Sylvester

    Fact laden work …but glazed by American naïveté
    Good read for anyone interested in the American foreign debacle (or policy) in the Middle East for the past three decades.

    Unfortunately the book becomes the victim of exactly what it highlights to be a major issue with American policy in ME. The book pretends to know how Arabs think and attempts to romanticizes the notion of Arab solidarity. Sadly, it also fails to understand and relay the concept of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” (on limited time basis) as the framework through which most Arab people perceive other tribes, cultures, nations etc.

    The book does do a good job of presenting, in a logical manner, some of the major failures and misunderstandings of the Arab geo-political situation by not only Americans but also their western counterparts as well.

    For the sake of authenticity & cultural meaning, the publishing company should’ve employed an Arab American to do a much better job of narrating than a Desi American.

  30. Marlana Heidebrecht

    Finally, a well written book about the scourge of ISIS
    The risk with telling the ISIS story is getting bogged down by all of the similar sounding names and places and details. But this author threads a highly entertaining and coherent narrative that highlights the most salient, leaving out all the fluff and unnecessary details that the other ISIS history on service suffers from.
    Also, the narration is just as good as the storytelling.

  31. Lloyd M.

    Didn’t cover new ground.
    there wasn’t anything new brought to the table. everything has been covered in more detail elsewhere.

  32. Hyman Judd

    super informative
    from someone who has served in Afghanistan but yet had not served in Iraq. This book was wonderful and filled in a lot of blanks as to what was going on during Iraqi freedom and as well as where Isis came from. I’d suggest this book to anyone interested or potentially about to serve in this region.

  33. Janis Vidler

    as radical as tomatos next to cucumbers
    horrifyingly insightful. the story was well organized. highly recommended autobiography to unbend the truth done by media.

  34. Eugenio Ciavardini

    Excellent book and performance.
    A cogent, succinct, and entertaining, if that’s an appropriate word for subject matter as compelling as this is. Well written and we’ll read. I will gladly recommend it to anyone.

  35. Angeles Angeloro

    Interesting, well written, but poor narration
    Would you try another book from Joby Warrick and/or Sunil Malhotra?

  36. Divina Eschbaugh

    Please inform yourself: read/listen to this book!
    Solid information about the history of the Middlnoe East and ISIS. Factual, thought-provoking, and disturbing.

  37. Joslyn Krauth

    Excellent
    This is one of the best books I have yet to come across concerning ISIS

  38. Vanda Milles

    Provided me background and insight
    Exceptionally well written story that allows readers to consider “what do we do or not do next?” outside the region.

  39. Yelena Mcguirk

    Solid survey
    I liked the way the narrative flowed through Middle Eastern history culminating with ISIS . An outstanding reader, comfortable with some different sounding names, made a big difference.

  40. Tisha Goehl

    Fair and balanced account of the rise of ISIS
    Factual account of the rise of Isis and interactions between Isis and the kingdom of Jordan and the United States and the new Republic of Iraq. There is an account of the opinions of moderate Islamic leaders against Isis which you often don’t hear in the public media.

  41. Joaquin M.

    Very informative and good storytelling. Must read.
    Surprising not boring at all for such a serious topic. Narrator did a good job and also very smooth writing and good storytelling.

  42. Ben Anderson

    Informative and Gripping
    A lucid, often thrilling narrative. Warrick presents a complex story in a thoroughly accessible fashion.

  43. Russ M.

    very good read
    Great & informative, would recommend to anyone wanting to learn about what’s going on over there!

  44. Terri Stawasz

    Educational and entertaining
    While containing a lot of factual information the story is told in an interesting manner! This books provides a good description of what is going on in the Middle East and why Muslims in general do not consider why the individuals causing the worst problems are not truly practicing Islam.

  45. Angel Chappelle

    Tale of American ineptness and rise of Black Flags
    Where does Black Flags rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

  46. Branden Levar

    great
    loved the book. great analysis and depth about one of the most tragic events in the middle east

  47. Johnathan Ballester

    excellent read. solid narration.
    excellent, entertaining listen. I did find myself a bit confused by all of the characters.

  48. Barbara J. Christensen

    A must read/listen, if you want to have an opinion.
    Too many Americans say foolish things like “why does the US have to do all the work fighting ISIS.” (Nothing could be further from the truth, BTW.) The extent to which the region has suffered at the hands of this group, labeled not only “not Muslim” & “criminal” but “DEMONIC” by Muslim scholars, is chronicled in this book. Wonder why we didn’t strike after Assad used chemical weapons? Blame Obama? Still think GW Bush’s invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with current atrocities? Wonder why C Powell said what he did during his now infamous speech to the General Assembly? The facts & answers can be found in this remarkable book worthy of its Pulitzer Prize. The most powerful quote, in my opinion: (by a Muslim Cleric) “Islam has nothing to do with ISIS.” Well worth your time, highly recommended!!

  49. Kent Bozak

    Enlightened me on some of the key figures of ISIS
    What made the experience of listening to Black Flags the most enjoyable?

  50. Rosaria L.

    A very complex topic but quite coherent
    This book is dealing with a very complex topic and does so with reasonable success. There is not much time given in terms of a way forward or some educated predictions on what happens next. In that way it is a fairly historical account and reasonably unbiased. Worth listening to if you have a vested interest in the topic.

  51. Kara Kakowski

    Must Read!
    Stop reading newspapers and read this book. A well researched account of ISIS. This well written narrative places you right there during the formation of the Islamic State.

  52. Loraine Higley

    A view of history without the media fog.
    I have never seen such a complex topic broken down to an understandable family tree of ISIS.

  53. Wilbur Grivna

    Great read! Should be required reading.
    If terrorism is your top issue, you should read this book and get familiar with the subject.

  54. Marybeth C.

    brilliant work on the middle East conflict
    Brilliant work summarizing the raise of different Islamic extremist groups and their ideological basis. highly recomendable to understand the current state in the region.

  55. Wesley Aument

    We screwed up!
    Would you consider the audio edition of Black Flags to be better than the print version?

  56. Rick

    The Iraq War was a gigantic blunder
    ISIL is a product of the Iraq War. So tragic. This book is powerful. Pick it up…

  57. M. Fry

    A fantastic overview of the origins of ISIS
    I now have a much better grasp on what is going on in the middle east

  58. Uli Gor

    More personal story, less a history book
    Being a Pulitzer prize winner in non-fiction category is a strong selling point for any book and a characteristic that comes with a high expectation. While it is a compelling story that introduces the reader to the personalities of ISIS leaders, for me it lacked a more comprehensive view on the phenomenon to live up to the name (the rise of ISIS and get 5 stars). Still, would recommend for people interested in more intimate details of the people who brought this horror of modern life to the world.

  59. E. Crist

    A truly mesmerizing book. highly recommended.
    I really learned a lot from this book. The narrator was very very good. should be required reading in every high school history class.

  60. Talitha Honma

    Warwick knows his subject.
    This book corroborates the material in another great book, State of Denial, by Bob Woodward. The Bush administration through deceit and arrogance caused all the grief we are currently going through. The Bush administration made a common thug onto Zarqawi the great leader. If you want a simple concise explanation of what we are all going through with the terrorist attacks in the mass migrations of human refugees read both of these books.

  61. Christie

    Informative & Detailed
    I’ve read many books on the subject matter, Black Flags chronicles the rise of Isis in an informative and detailed manner. I highly recommend this book to those who are trying to make sense of the horrors of this global war on terrorism.

  62. Williams Bindrup

    I really enjoyed reading this book
    It was mind opening, focusing on what is present in our generation, that is a frame of future history in many ways. The rise of Isis was well performed and written, Its not a book I would read again, but in overall it was creative and not boring most of the chapters. Great job Joby Warrick!

  63. Customer

    Enjoyed
    This book was very informative and easy to follow. It provides an interesting outlook of the situation facing the region today.

  64. Alyson L.

    A terrifying history of ISIS’ rise
    Would you listen to Black Flags again? Why?

  65. aymen Murrani

    Well-written / true events
    This book truly captures the events leading to the rise of ISIS. The author has amazing insights and is able to truly put you in the moment of action. As a person who lives in Iraq during that period, this is such an enlightening book. By far, the best book on ISIS I have read so far.

  66. Lindsay Hanton

    Well done
    An informative and in-depth book that stayed exciting and relatively easy to keep up with. Narrator seemed invested and personable which made it easier for me to fallow along.

  67. Gia Brents

    Educational
    This was a good read and I learned a lot. Some of the stories were absolutely fascinating, and some not so much.

    It did get dry in some areas, but not enough to turn you off. Most of the story telling was riveting.

    As a side note, I learned more about what the US military was doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  68. Faviola Bame

    Awesome book.
    Job well done. Learned so much in a relatively short period of time. Would recommend to students studying Terrorism and anyone interested in Jordan. Book is full of detail, will have to listen to again to fully remember everything that was said.

  69. Sidney Asevedo

    lived in
    I lived and fought in this mess. It was an excellent depiction of what really happened.

  70. Mario Mauleon

    Great Book
    The book was well written and very historically accurate. I enjoyed learning all the background details.

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