Publications by Year: 2011

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Bin Laden's Legacy: Why We’re Still Losing the War on Terror
Emanuel, J. P. (2011). Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Bin Laden's Legacy: Why We’re Still Losing the War on Terror. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Click Here to DownloadAbstract


In the decade since 9/11, the United States has grown weaker: It has been bogged down by costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has spent billions of dollars on security to protect air travel and other transport, as well as the homeland more generally. Much of this money has been channeled into efforts that are inefficient by design and highly bureaucratic, a lack of coordination between and among the government and an array of contractors making it difficult to evaluate the return on the enormous investment that we have made in national security. Meanwhile, public morale has been sapped by measures ranging from color-coded terror alerts to full-body hand searches.

Now counterterrorism expert Daveed Gartenstein-Ross details the strategic missteps the U.S. has made in the fight against al Qaeda, a group that U.S. planners never really took the time to understand. For this reason, America's responses to the terrorist threat have often unwittingly helped al Qaeda achieve its goals. Gartenstein-Ross's book explains what the country must do now to stem the bleeding.

  • Explains in detail al Qaeda's strategy to sap and undermine the American economy, and shows how the United States played into the terrorist group's hands by expanding the battlefield and setting up an expensive homeland security bureaucracy that has difficulty dealing with a nimble, adaptive foe
  • Outlines how al Qaeda's economic plans have evolved toward an ultimate ""strategy of a thousand cuts,"" which involves smaller yet more frequent attacks against Western societies
  • Shows how the domestic politicization of terrorism has weakened the United States, skewing its priorities and causing it to misallocate counterterrorism resources
  • Offers a practical plan for building domestic resiliency against terrorist attacks, and escaping the mistakes that have undermined America's war against its jihadist foes

Clearly written and powerfully argued by a prominent counterterrorism expert, this book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what al Qaeda is really after and how the United States can thwart its goals—or help unwittingly to achieve them.

William F. McCants, Founding Gods, Inventing Nations: Conquest and Culture Myths from Antiquity to Islam
Emanuel, J. P. (2011). William F. McCants, Founding Gods, Inventing Nations: Conquest and Culture Myths from Antiquity to Islam. Princeton University Press, 2011. Click Here to DownloadAbstract


From the dawn of writing in Sumer to the sunset of the Islamic empire, Founding Gods, Inventing Nations traces four thousand years of speculation on the origins of civilization. Investigating a vast range of primary sources, some of which are translated here for the first time, and focusing on the dynamic influence of the Greek, Roman, and Arab conquests of the Near East, William McCants looks at the ways the conquerors and those they conquered reshaped their myths of civilization's origins in response to the social and political consequences of empire.

The Greek and Roman conquests brought with them a learned culture that competed with that of native elites. The conquering Arabs, in contrast, had no learned culture, which led to three hundred years of Muslim competition over the cultural orientation of Islam, a contest reflected in the culture myths of that time. What we know today as Islamic culture is the product of this contest, whose protagonists drew heavily on the lore of non-Arab and pagan antiquity.

McCants argues that authors in all three periods did not write about civilization's origins solely out of pure antiquarian interest--they also sought to address the social and political tensions of the day. The strategies they employed and the postcolonial dilemmas they confronted provide invaluable context for understanding how authors today use myth and history to locate themselves in the confusing aftermath of empire.
Digging for Dagon: A Reassessment of the Archaeological Evidence for a Cult of Philistine Dagon in Iron I Ashdod
Emanuel, J. P. (2011). Digging for Dagon: A Reassessment of the Archaeological Evidence for a Cult of Philistine Dagon in Iron I Ashdod. In Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting . San Francisco, CA.Abstract
Scholars have generally accepted 1 Sam 4:1b–7:1’s portrayal of Philistine cult in the Iron Age I as being centered on the god Dagon and his temple at Ashdod, despite three major limitations: the likely late date of the Deuteronomistic history’s authorship; the dubious veracity of its historical accounts; and the Bible’s status as the only Bronze or Iron Age text which indisputably refers to the god Dagon in a Canaanite geographical context. In the light of these limitations, as well as of the late 20th century excavations at the Philistine cities of Ashdod, Tel Qasîle, and Tel Miqne/Ekron, and the ongoing excavations at Ashkelon and Tel es–Safi/Gath, the time appears ripe for a reassessment of the available material evidence for a Philistine cult of Dagon at Iron I Ashdod. Through a marshaling of archaeological evidence from the aforementioned sites, it will be shown that, though cultic structures are known from multiple Philistine sites, no indisputable evidence for a temple of any kind has been found in Iron I Ashdod. Further, the only deity for which indisputable evidence exists in Philistia at this time is a fertility goddess with Aegean and Cypriot affinities, who is unlikely to be the Dagon of the biblical account. Though the absence of material support for the Deuteronomistic history’s portrayal of Philistine cult in the Iron I is not itself incontrovertible evidence of the absence of Dagon himself, such a discrepancy between literary and material evidence should reinforce the importance of evidence–based archaeo–historical analysis of literary information, particularly when the alternative is assuming the correctness of elements of a narrative whose overall veracity is generally in doubt.