The Essential Reference Guide
by Brian L. Steed
October 2019, 307pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6461-2
$97, £72, 81€, A139
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6462-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The Islamic State (ISIS) has made its presence felt around the world, from its involvement in the Iraq and Syrian conflicts to its numerous terrorist attacks in Europe, the Middle East, and beyond.

This illuminating work offers readers a comprehensive overview of ISIS, with more than 100 in-depth articles on a variety of topics related to the notorious terrorist group, and more than a dozen key primary source documents.

ISIS formed through a combination of a rise in violent extremist ideologies demonstrated on September 11, 2001; the invasion of Iraq; and the Syrian Civil War. ISIS is possibly the most important conflict group and phenomena of the last half century, and understanding its source and success is crucial to functioning in the world today. This book provides insight into ISIS from its beginnings to the present, through coverage of its people, organizations, and operations.

The book begins with an overview of ISIS, which provides context for each of the reference entries that follow. The introductory material also includes entries on the causes and consequences of the conflict between ISIS and the West. The book contains more than 100 reference entries on general and specific topics ranging from key leaders to major terrorist attacks and affiliated organizations. It also includes a carefully curated selection of primary sources that come from a variety of sources including national-level strategy documents, presidential addresses, and ISIS itself. The book concludes with a detailed chronology and annotated bibliography.


  • Provides an important resource for understanding the historic and geopolitical background of the rise of ISIS
  • Explains the reasoning behind the Islamic State's decisions and actions
  • Offers readers material for understanding the key decisions that led to contemporary dysfunction in the Middle East
  • Demonstrates how ISIS and affiliated extremist organizations use Islam as a primary recruiting and operational tool
Brian L. Steed is an assistant professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and a former Middle East foreign area officer who served three times in Iraq (2005, 2010–2011, and 2014–2015). He is author or editor of eight books and numerous articles on military theory, military history, narrative space, and cross-cultural influence, including ABC-CLIO's ISIS: An Introduction and Guide to the Islamic State, Iraq War: The Essential Reference Guide, and Greenwood's Voices of the Iraq War: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life.


"Steed's latest reference work on ISIS provides readers with as complete a view as reasonably possible. . . The work is a well-suited reference which provides a 360-degree view of ISIS."—Booklist, January 1, 2020

"Recommended. General readers through faculty; professionals."—Choice, July 1, 2020
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.