Vendor- Ackerman, Spencer
Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump
For an entire generation, at home and abroad, the United States has waged an endless conflict known as the War on Terror. In addition to multiple ground wars, the era pioneered drone strikes and industrial-scale digital surveillance; weakened the rule of law through indefinite detentions; sanctioned torture; and manipulated the truth about it all. These conflicts have yielded neither peace nor victory, but they have transformed America. What began as the persecution of Muslims and immigrants has become a normalized feature of American politics and nationalsecurity, expanding the possibilities for applying similar or worse measures against other targets at home, as the summer of 2020 showed. A politically divided and economically destabilized country turned the War on Terror into a cultural—and then a tribal—struggle. It began on the ideological frontiers of the Republican Party before expanding to conquer the GOP, often with the acquiescence of the Democratic Party. Today’s nativist resurgence walked through a door opened by the 9/11 era. And that door remains open.
Reign of Terror shows how these developments created an opportunityfor American authoritarianism and gave rise to Donald Trump. It shows that Barack Obama squandered an opportunity to dismantle the War on Terror after killing Osama bin Laden. By the end of his tenure, the war had metastasized into a bitter, broader cultural struggle in search of a demagogue like Trump to lead it.
Reign of Terror is a pathbreaking and definitive union of journalism and intellectual history with the power to transform how America understands its national security policies and their catastrophic impact on civic life.
Paperback, Aug 9th 2022