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The explosive memoir of a Muslim American FBI agent fighting terror from the inside It's no secret that federal agencies are waging a broad, global war against terror. But for the first time in this memoir, an active Muslim American federal agent reveals his experience infiltrating and bringing down a terror cell in North America. A longtime undercover agent, Tamer Elnoury j The explosive memoir of a Muslim American FBI agent fighting terror from the inside It's no secret that federal agencies are waging a broad, global war against terror. But for the first time in this memoir, an active Muslim American federal agent reveals his experience infiltrating and bringing down a terror cell in North America. A longtime undercover agent, Tamer Elnoury joined an elite counterterrorism unit after September 11. Its express purpose is to gain the trust of terrorists whose goals are to take out as many Americans in as public and as devastating a way possible. It's a furious race against the clock for Tamer and his unit to stop them before they can implement their plans. Yet as new as this war still is, the techniques are as old as time: listen, record, and prove terrorist intent. Due to his ongoing work for the FBI, Elnoury writes under a pseudonym. An Arabic-speaking Muslim American, a patriot, a hero: To many Americans, it will be a revelation that he and his team even exist, let alone the vital and dangerous work they do keeping all Americans safe.


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The explosive memoir of a Muslim American FBI agent fighting terror from the inside It's no secret that federal agencies are waging a broad, global war against terror. But for the first time in this memoir, an active Muslim American federal agent reveals his experience infiltrating and bringing down a terror cell in North America. A longtime undercover agent, Tamer Elnoury j The explosive memoir of a Muslim American FBI agent fighting terror from the inside It's no secret that federal agencies are waging a broad, global war against terror. But for the first time in this memoir, an active Muslim American federal agent reveals his experience infiltrating and bringing down a terror cell in North America. A longtime undercover agent, Tamer Elnoury joined an elite counterterrorism unit after September 11. Its express purpose is to gain the trust of terrorists whose goals are to take out as many Americans in as public and as devastating a way possible. It's a furious race against the clock for Tamer and his unit to stop them before they can implement their plans. Yet as new as this war still is, the techniques are as old as time: listen, record, and prove terrorist intent. Due to his ongoing work for the FBI, Elnoury writes under a pseudonym. An Arabic-speaking Muslim American, a patriot, a hero: To many Americans, it will be a revelation that he and his team even exist, let alone the vital and dangerous work they do keeping all Americans safe.

30 review for American Radical: Inside the World of an Undercover Muslim FBI Agent

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    I am extremely interested by terrorism and wanted to use my legal background to become a part of the counter-terrorism operation in the UK, before unfortunately falling ill. I believe we have some incredible individuals that are willing to put themselves in danger to protect their mother country and the author is just one of those doing so in America. Tamer Elnoury (a pseudonym) poses as an affluent Al-Qaeda sympathiser and is in a race against time to gain the terrorists' trust in order to bring I am extremely interested by terrorism and wanted to use my legal background to become a part of the counter-terrorism operation in the UK, before unfortunately falling ill. I believe we have some incredible individuals that are willing to put themselves in danger to protect their mother country and the author is just one of those doing so in America. Tamer Elnoury (a pseudonym) poses as an affluent Al-Qaeda sympathiser and is in a race against time to gain the terrorists' trust in order to bring them down. In the aftermath of 9/11, long-time undercover agent Elnoury joined an elite counter-terrorism unit. Its mission? To infiltrate terror cells, gain detailed knowledge of their networks and bring them successfully to justice. "Terrorist Hunter" is a detailed look into US government implementations after the atrocity of 9/11, in order to infiltrate terror cells with the aim of stopping another similar tragedy from happening. People don't realise how difficult this job must be both physically and mentally. Guys like Elnoury put their lives in peril for the good of their country, it really is incredible. Luckily, nothing as horrendous as 9/11 has happened recently but whether that is down to these infiltration operations or just chance, it's impossible to say. This is an engaging read that I got through pretty quickly. It discusses some points that feed into the overall story such as the view of Islam and the strain of being an undercover agent, to name but a few. If you are interested in the use of government agents in undercover operations or how we try to protect a country's citizens from terrorists then this is not a book to be missed, in my opinion. Many thanks to Corgi for an ARC. I was not required to post a review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    This is a fascinating account of life as an undercover FBI agent. Tamer Elnoury is an identity created by the FBI to expose terrorists. The identity has since been burned, so the agent, who is still active, uses it for his pseudonym. Tamer was born in Egypt and immigrated to the US as a small child, so he is natively fluent in both Arabic and English. He found his calling in law enforcement, where he worked undercover to bring down drug lords. Eventually he was recruited for counter-terrorism. The This is a fascinating account of life as an undercover FBI agent. Tamer Elnoury is an identity created by the FBI to expose terrorists. The identity has since been burned, so the agent, who is still active, uses it for his pseudonym. Tamer was born in Egypt and immigrated to the US as a small child, so he is natively fluent in both Arabic and English. He found his calling in law enforcement, where he worked undercover to bring down drug lords. Eventually he was recruited for counter-terrorism. The book tells of a particular case that started out as a favor to Canada but grew as more evidence was found. Tamer is a very self-confident, almost cocky guy, which is essential to working under cover. Befriending jihadists was especially tiring for him—he had to watch people twist something personal and sacred to him and pretend to agree with their rationalizations for evil. That takes a special kind of mental endurance, and I’m in awe of that. Recommended for anyone interested in police work, spies, and life as an American Muslim. Editing was good except for the “alright” spellings. Book Blog

  3. 5 out of 5

    L.A. Starks

    Highly recommended for thriller readers, especially of the Alex Berenson series. Elnoury is a pseudonym for an actual FBI agent who went undercover. Elnoury's work led to the capture and conviction of three Canadian radicals who were preparing to kill innocents in Canada and the US in the name of their radical politics and twisted interpretations of Islam. Elnoury outlines the men and their attempts, and all it took for him not to be discovered, ending with important theological distinctions betwe Highly recommended for thriller readers, especially of the Alex Berenson series. Elnoury is a pseudonym for an actual FBI agent who went undercover. Elnoury's work led to the capture and conviction of three Canadian radicals who were preparing to kill innocents in Canada and the US in the name of their radical politics and twisted interpretations of Islam. Elnoury outlines the men and their attempts, and all it took for him not to be discovered, ending with important theological distinctions between the men's ideological excuses/rigid preference for violence. He also notes one telling factor in indentifying the main subject, Chiheb, as radicalized was that he had STOPPED going to mosque because he hated the moderation of his fellow congregants. The story told in this book is superb and suspenseful. It is also a welcome reminder of the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep the rest of us safe.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    This book was both less and more than what I expected it to be--or maybe just different. I thought it would paint a bigger picture of the various ways in which Muslims in law enforcement were helping in counter-terrorism. But it was just one man's story. It was more exciting and "action-packed" than I thought it would be. It belongs in the genre of tough cops getting bad guys rather than any sort of wider social commentary. But it's useful even as a single story because it shows how a devout mus This book was both less and more than what I expected it to be--or maybe just different. I thought it would paint a bigger picture of the various ways in which Muslims in law enforcement were helping in counter-terrorism. But it was just one man's story. It was more exciting and "action-packed" than I thought it would be. It belongs in the genre of tough cops getting bad guys rather than any sort of wider social commentary. But it's useful even as a single story because it shows how a devout muslim confronts a radical "twisted" muslim. It was a riveting read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ben Salkowe

    Reading this during the vulgar immigration debate this week was a surreal experience. Elnourey’s story reads like a suspense thriller that is hard to put down as he infiltrates and then takes down a terrorist sleeper cell. But the parts that most made me stop and think were his reflections on his own life and the immigrant experience in America. “I will never forget the day I became an American,” he writes. “But my parents still sent me to Islamic school every Sunday to maintain my religion. We Reading this during the vulgar immigration debate this week was a surreal experience. Elnourey’s story reads like a suspense thriller that is hard to put down as he infiltrates and then takes down a terrorist sleeper cell. But the parts that most made me stop and think were his reflections on his own life and the immigrant experience in America. “I will never forget the day I became an American,” he writes. “But my parents still sent me to Islamic school every Sunday to maintain my religion. We traveled back to Egypt every summer so I’d never forget my culture. My mother always spoke Arabic to me so I’d know my native language. None of that made me less patriotic.” Elnourey argues that the real undoing of radicals and terrorists cannot come from closing borders or isolating immigrants. “Keeping America’s doors open ensures that when we are threatened by an enemy, we will always have someone who looks like them to help defeat them. Our best defense is inclusion.” Elnourey is of course the most obvious hero of the story. But the countless other Americans in the book, with all different names and stories of their own, are all heroic reminders of what makes his work possible. And each is a reminder of the common beliefs and goodness we all share. I only wish our leaders who spent this week arguing over who to exclude from our country, would understand these stories, too.

  6. 4 out of 5

    James Rindfuss

    I heard an interview with the author on a podcast a few months ago and the story sounded really interesting, so I was pretty excited to read this book. To be honest though, it was a big let down compared to my expectations for a few reasons. First off, it is very apparent that the author is a special agent and former cop, not a writer. It is not well written at all and some points he wants to make get repetitive. I also came to question how effective a lot of their approach is in actually preven I heard an interview with the author on a podcast a few months ago and the story sounded really interesting, so I was pretty excited to read this book. To be honest though, it was a big let down compared to my expectations for a few reasons. First off, it is very apparent that the author is a special agent and former cop, not a writer. It is not well written at all and some points he wants to make get repetitive. I also came to question how effective a lot of their approach is in actually preventing terrorism. From my perspective reading his account, all of the people who end up arrested seem to be hot-heads who like to talk about jihad but would never have the human or financial resources to carry out an attack. Then the FBI comes in and offers them a financier and gives them all of these resources to plan an attack and help with recruiting others. Sure their ideology is deplorable and they most certainly should be closely monitored by the intelligence agencies, but in my reading I'm not so convinced they committed any crimes before the FBI came in and started helping facilitate things. It just seems like a waste of resources as they blow through so much money on this operation. I'd be curious to know whether they do this same type of work on white nationalists or others with insane ideologies. Or if intervening and trying to de-radicalize them would have any success. I could be totally wrong about all of this though, it was just the impression I got. Finally, the author just comes off as a huge dick in a lot of his interactions with his colleagues, superiors and the Canadian authorities. There were some positives to the book though. The story itself is pretty compelling, especially learning about how some of the undercover work is done. And there were also interesting and informative tidbits about mainstream Islam and Muslim culture that I enjoyed learning about.

  7. 5 out of 5

    RG

    Interesting read on this undercover agents life. I found it pretty thrilling in some aspects however, I felt like the style made it feel a little fiction like. When I've read non fiction most of the time whilst reading I feel the strain, the emotion of the characters/issues. However the fiction style story telling lost it for me. Not bad by any means, just wasnt what I was expecting. Interesting read on this undercover agents life. I found it pretty thrilling in some aspects however, I felt like the style made it feel a little fiction like. When I've read non fiction most of the time whilst reading I feel the strain, the emotion of the characters/issues. However the fiction style story telling lost it for me. Not bad by any means, just wasnt what I was expecting.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Renee (itsbooktalk)

    4.5 stars!! This is one of those books that happened to catch my eye as it has two of my favorite buzzwords in it...Undercover and FBI...In short, I loved it! Not only is it the most fascinating book I've read in a long time, it's also a very uniquely written memoir in that it reads like a page turning novel. In fact, as I mentioned in my Monday post, it very much reads like an episode of Homeland. There were times I had to remind myself the difference is that this story is actually true which in 4.5 stars!! This is one of those books that happened to catch my eye as it has two of my favorite buzzwords in it...Undercover and FBI...In short, I loved it! Not only is it the most fascinating book I've read in a long time, it's also a very uniquely written memoir in that it reads like a page turning novel. In fact, as I mentioned in my Monday post, it very much reads like an episode of Homeland. There were times I had to remind myself the difference is that this story is actually true which in my opinion made it all the more terrifying. As stated in the blurb, Tamer is a pseudonym for an undercover counterterrorism agent in the FBI. I thought he did a fantastic job sharing as many details as he could about the world of an undercover agent, how they train, how they live their "legends," and the extreme emotional/psychological stress it takes on their psyches. Especially when dealing with the warped and twisted minds of the radical Islamic terrorists he worked to bring down in this story. I appreciated how well he explained who these terrorists were, where they came from and how they came to believe what they do. I hung on every word as he described conversations in which the terrorists laid out detailed plans to kill as many Americans as possible...it was scary to read and I don't think most of us understand what is happening in our own country on a daily basis. The first person narrative structure of the story worked brilliantly in that I felt like I was a fly on the wall watching each scene unfold. The pace was steady although I will say I thought it dragged a little in the middle but the last third made up for it and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out how it was all going to unfold. I love the way the authors created such a suspenseful storyline while also providing behind the scenes details of the operations. I've been recommending this book all week to people, especially to my friends who love Homeland so if you enjoy page turners that are timely, current, and so relevant to our world right now I encourage you to give this a try! You can find all my reviews at www.itsbooktalk.com

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marisa

    I really wasn't expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. I do wish that Elnoury had provided a little more insight into why he decided to go into law enforcement in the first place, but in general, the book is deeply insightful and almost impossible to put down. I would highly recommend the audiobook for a really immersive experience! I really wasn't expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. I do wish that Elnoury had provided a little more insight into why he decided to go into law enforcement in the first place, but in general, the book is deeply insightful and almost impossible to put down. I would highly recommend the audiobook for a really immersive experience!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    A gripping and absolutely fascinating look into the life and work of an undercover FBI counterterrorism agent infiltrating a terror cell plotting attacks in Canada and the US. Elnoury's background allows him vital and nuanced insight into how his targets tick - and how to take them down. A gripping and absolutely fascinating look into the life and work of an undercover FBI counterterrorism agent infiltrating a terror cell plotting attacks in Canada and the US. Elnoury's background allows him vital and nuanced insight into how his targets tick - and how to take them down.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michel B.

    I hesitated a fair bit before choosing to buy this book. In essence, I'm weary of the Islam-bashing that goes on both in Canada and the US and didn't want to contribute my $$ to a book that would just keep on promoting Islam and muslims in a poor light. As it turns out, this book did the opposite and I was glad for it. The book is well written and the narrative flows exceptionally well. There are moments of humour and the story is wholly engrossing. An interesting story, well told. Caveat: I'm c I hesitated a fair bit before choosing to buy this book. In essence, I'm weary of the Islam-bashing that goes on both in Canada and the US and didn't want to contribute my $$ to a book that would just keep on promoting Islam and muslims in a poor light. As it turns out, this book did the opposite and I was glad for it. The book is well written and the narrative flows exceptionally well. There are moments of humour and the story is wholly engrossing. An interesting story, well told. Caveat: I'm certain that there may have been some untold aspects that could paint the 'authorities' in a lesser light - and those were not included. But I still found it interesting and not overly propagandist. (very mild) spoiler alert: Ps. One inconsistency truly bothered me and made me question the honesty of the narrative. The lease on the apartment of one of the terrorists was 'up' in December (or so) on his Montreal flat. Which is very very odd, since Montreal (and Quebec) is known for it's odd custom of having the vast majority of leases due on July 1 - everybody (or almost) moves out at the same time here. Whilst it's common to have people move into a flat at different points in the year, the lease would most certainly have been made for the whatever remaining months until July 1 came along again. Everybody knows this here and I found it a most peculiar part of the story and wondered what was the truth of it..... Salam

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    I really enjoyed this book. It is a quick read and the agent did America a huge favor

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mark Mortensen

    It’s rare that one individual has a direct impact upon the welfare of society. This memoir follows an Egyptian Muslim who assimilates into America and willingly serves as an undercover FBI agent to fight counter-terrorism. The author who prays regularly to Allah notably states “The Quran specifically states the Muslims must abide by the country’s laws in which they reside”. This fast paced nonfiction action thriller is extremely inspiring. I’m thankful for heroes who dedicate their career and li It’s rare that one individual has a direct impact upon the welfare of society. This memoir follows an Egyptian Muslim who assimilates into America and willingly serves as an undercover FBI agent to fight counter-terrorism. The author who prays regularly to Allah notably states “The Quran specifically states the Muslims must abide by the country’s laws in which they reside”. This fast paced nonfiction action thriller is extremely inspiring. I’m thankful for heroes who dedicate their career and life to protect others, while rooting out evil.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amrita

    Fascinating account of an Islamic undercover agent who is on tenterhook so many times. Although a real account story of the agent, It felt like a thriller.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aj Sterkel

    American Radical: Inside The World Of An Undercover Muslim FBI Agent by Tamer Elnoury is a memoir. The author is an Egyptian-American Muslim immigrant who speaks Arabic and was working as a detective. Then 9/11 happened, and the FBI recruited him to infiltrate a terrorist group. Scary stuff. This book is intense, like a real-life thriller novel. I love the insights into how undercover operations work. They’re exhausting for the detectives who have to stay in character for months, and there’s a t American Radical: Inside The World Of An Undercover Muslim FBI Agent by Tamer Elnoury is a memoir. The author is an Egyptian-American Muslim immigrant who speaks Arabic and was working as a detective. Then 9/11 happened, and the FBI recruited him to infiltrate a terrorist group. Scary stuff. This book is intense, like a real-life thriller novel. I love the insights into how undercover operations work. They’re exhausting for the detectives who have to stay in character for months, and there’s a ton of legal red tape, especially when law enforcement agencies from different countries are involved. Things get messy. I also liked learning about Islamic terrorist groups. They’re messy too. The terrorists come from different parts of the world and have different morals and grievances. It’s hard to get everybody to agree on a murder plan. The best part of the book is when the author talks about himself. He’s a Muslim who spends months with extremists who use his religion as an excuse to hurt people. He’s always tempted to “save” them or talk sense into them, but he can’t because he’ll blow his cover and possibly be killed. It’s exhausting for him and fascinating to read about. My only problem with the book is that I wanted more history. I wanted to know why the terrorist groups exist and what draws people to them. We don’t get much background information because the memoir is very action-focused. If you like thrillers, you’ll probably love it. Do you like opinions, giveaways, and bookish nonsense? I have a blog for that.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Allen

    Just wow. I listened to the audiobook and the performance was outstanding. An amazing story. Interesting the whole time!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tony Taylor

    This is an autobiography about a Muslim FBI agent who came to the US as a child from Egypt with his parents. After graduating from college and spending 12 years as an undercover drug agent with the NY P0lice Department, he joined the FBI several years after 9/11 and became a very effective undercover agent ferreting out radical Muslims in the US and Canada. The author's name is a nom de guerre since he is still active as an FBI undercover agent fighting the war on terror. Most of the book is told This is an autobiography about a Muslim FBI agent who came to the US as a child from Egypt with his parents. After graduating from college and spending 12 years as an undercover drug agent with the NY P0lice Department, he joined the FBI several years after 9/11 and became a very effective undercover agent ferreting out radical Muslims in the US and Canada. The author's name is a nom de guerre since he is still active as an FBI undercover agent fighting the war on terror. Most of the book is told in the first person making it read as though it were a novel, but the facts have been documented in court verifying that this man may be one of our best defenses again terrorism in America. Highly recommend!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    A Muslim American Fights for America Elnoury’s family immigrated to the US from Egypt when he was only four years old. He is a devout Muslim, but also a loyal American. From his early years, he wanted to be involved in police work and became an undercover agent in drug enforcement. From the stories early in the book, he must have been very good at it. Then 911 came. The author couldn’t believe his fellow Muslims would do this. He offered his services to the FBI, but at the time they were unable t A Muslim American Fights for America Elnoury’s family immigrated to the US from Egypt when he was only four years old. He is a devout Muslim, but also a loyal American. From his early years, he wanted to be involved in police work and became an undercover agent in drug enforcement. From the stories early in the book, he must have been very good at it. Then 911 came. The author couldn’t believe his fellow Muslims would do this. He offered his services to the FBI, but at the time they were unable to take advantage of him. Years later, he met another FBI agent and this time, as a Muslim fluent in Arabic, they wanted to use him. He became Tamer Elnoury. The FBI created this individual and backstopped his identity. Under this cover, he brought down a terrorist network. If you enjoy police procedurals and spy stories, you’ll love this book. This is a real life thriller. The early chapters give insight into the undercover work in drug enforcement. The latter chapters are as exciting as a spy story, but they’re real. The writing is good and the action is non-stop. This is an important book. It’s incontrovertible that Muslim radicals have done a great deal of harm in the world, but not all Muslims are radicals. The author is a devote Muslim who has risked his life to keep the rest of us safe. I recommend reading the epilogue. Elnoury makes a good case for why we should welcome Muslims into the country. All religions have adherents who use the sacred books to substantiate their own beliefs. That doesn’t equate to all members of a religious group being terrorists. I highly recommend this book. It’s an entertaining read and makes an important point for today’s world. I received this book from Dutton for this review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn Koehler

    After hearing the author speak on Pod Save the World, I picked this up and read it over two days. It's a focused, compelling story. After offering a short background on Elnoury's (the name is a pseudonym of the still-active agent) childhood and early law enforcement career, the bulk of the book follows him and his team through one specific case in which he attempts to track and gain the confidence of an al Qaeda sleeper agent. It's a wild ride, worthy of a Hollywood thriller, but with the added After hearing the author speak on Pod Save the World, I picked this up and read it over two days. It's a focused, compelling story. After offering a short background on Elnoury's (the name is a pseudonym of the still-active agent) childhood and early law enforcement career, the bulk of the book follows him and his team through one specific case in which he attempts to track and gain the confidence of an al Qaeda sleeper agent. It's a wild ride, worthy of a Hollywood thriller, but with the added element of Elnoury being a born and bred Muslim. He's not a dude who learns how to be fake-Muslim to catch terrorists; he's an Egyptian-born American citizen who's always been Muslim. And those people are apparently quite rare in the various US agencies that work to defeat terrorism. So Elnoury is in a unique position to explain why radical Islam (like any religion used to justify violence) offends him as a follower of Islam, and concerns mainstream Muslims like himself and his family. The whole case, which spans months and involves multiple law enforcement agencies in multiple counties, is reconstructed so the reader can follow along as Elnoury and his team arrange to meet the subject and then keeps following the situation as plans are hatched and things get crazier and crazier. The descriptions of settings and meetings are vivid (and let me feeling completely stuffed--apparently would-be terrorists like eating...a LOT.). There's a meeting in a moroccan restaurant that's memorable in more ways than one. All through the book, the tension amps up, because we just don't know how it will end. The story of the various plots the terrorists think up is riveting on its own, the strength of the book comes from the Elnoury's perspective as a Muslim who is routinely horrified at how his religion is warped by these hateful men who use selected, often truncated quotes from the Quran to justify their own behavior. The most useful insights are the ones that go beyond the admittedly fascinating details of FBI undercover work to explain the details of Islam as a religion, the cultural differences that make America and Canada so jarring for those who come here from the Middle East, and the need for more understanding on both sides. Reading this book restored some confidence in the efficacy of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, which are filled with good people working hard to keep ordinary citizens safe despite the insane posturing of some current leaders. (Final note to any FBI folks reading: maybe watch those restaurant bills during cases, ok? That comes out of my taxes.)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ola

    American Radical is the engaging memoir of undercover FBI agent Tamer Elnoury that reads more like a thriller. Elnoury thwarted the 2013 VIA Rail Canada Terrorism Plot by befriending the Al-Qaeda sponsored terrorists planning the attack. The part of the story I find most interesting is that Tamer Elnoury is still undercover continuing his work even after the publishing of this memoir. The name is a pseudonym and Elnoury has only granted a handful of interviews while in heavy disguise and with vo American Radical is the engaging memoir of undercover FBI agent Tamer Elnoury that reads more like a thriller. Elnoury thwarted the 2013 VIA Rail Canada Terrorism Plot by befriending the Al-Qaeda sponsored terrorists planning the attack. The part of the story I find most interesting is that Tamer Elnoury is still undercover continuing his work even after the publishing of this memoir. The name is a pseudonym and Elnoury has only granted a handful of interviews while in heavy disguise and with voice altering. American Radical provides a glimpse into the very secretive world of terrorism and reveals some of the attacker motivations. The memoir briefly focuses on Elnoury’s time as an undercover cop before describing how Elnoury obtained intelligence by meeting, befriending, and working closely with the VIA Rail terrorists, finishing with Elnoury’s testimony in the court proceedings. Elnoury, a practicing Muslim, describes his undercover work through his essential perspective, which provides cultural and religious context to counterbalance the terrorists’ erroneous beliefs.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Tokuda-Hall

    I feel like every time I read a book written by someone in law enforcement, there's this arrogant tone of "everyone else was fucking up until I came along," and this book is no different in that regard. It's got some interesting insight, and I'd absolutely hand it to readers who know nothing of Islam except within discussions of terrorism, because it provides a very nice primer on the Islam the mass majority of Muslims practice. I feel like every time I read a book written by someone in law enforcement, there's this arrogant tone of "everyone else was fucking up until I came along," and this book is no different in that regard. It's got some interesting insight, and I'd absolutely hand it to readers who know nothing of Islam except within discussions of terrorism, because it provides a very nice primer on the Islam the mass majority of Muslims practice.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    "Our best defense is inclusion. America is everyone." "Our best defense is inclusion. America is everyone."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Clyn

    I rarely give 5 stars to a book, but this one was certainly deserving. I read a lot of political/special forces thrillers where the antagonists are often Islamic Fundamentalists. That, and what I continually see streamed across news services has led me to develop a fairly negative view of Islam in general. I’ve never gotten the feel that anyone who fully embraces Islam exhibits the love for my country or the commitment to its success that I, and most people I know, have. Instead of feeling patri I rarely give 5 stars to a book, but this one was certainly deserving. I read a lot of political/special forces thrillers where the antagonists are often Islamic Fundamentalists. That, and what I continually see streamed across news services has led me to develop a fairly negative view of Islam in general. I’ve never gotten the feel that anyone who fully embraces Islam exhibits the love for my country or the commitment to its success that I, and most people I know, have. Instead of feeling patriotism, I almost feel they tolerate us infidels, but would prefer sharia law and membership in a Muslim caliphate if given the choice. This book showed me an entirely different brand of Islam, one I can appreciate, and somewhat respect (my reticence is sustained only by the fact that several of my issues with Islam were not addressed—primarily treatment of women). In the book we find an Egyptian born devout Muslim who, after 9/11 is drawn to the FBI to counter the Islamic terrorist threat. Tamer Elnoury, his FBI cover name, is more disgusted at those perverting what he asserts is true Islam that even I am, likely because he feels personally insulted as a Muslim. It was good for me to see that there are members of the Islamic community that feel as I do about the scourge of Islamic fundamentalism on society, and that some of them are doing something about it. I still feel that not enough of them are doing enough, but that may be because those stories are not grabbing the headlines like those misrepresenting them are. One thing I especially appreciated was the effort made to distinguish between true Islamic principles and their bastardization by terrorists to justify their Jihad. One of Elnoury’s primary purposes is to teach those of us with less understanding of the Islamic faith, what Islam truly is, and what it tries to be. The story of his undercover operation is just as captivating as you get glimpses into what life is like for undercover agents in both the war against drugs and the war on terrorist. Truly a great read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    2nd read of Nonfiction November. 3.5 stars. This was a really interesting story about a Muslim Egyptian-American police officer who leapt to join the FBI after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He used his language skills, his heritage, religion, and family history to befriend and eventually take down a radical Islamist. His pain at having to manipulate expressions of his faith in order to blend in with these horrible people was something I could viscerally feel and I felt so sorry yet grateful that h 2nd read of Nonfiction November. 3.5 stars. This was a really interesting story about a Muslim Egyptian-American police officer who leapt to join the FBI after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He used his language skills, his heritage, religion, and family history to befriend and eventually take down a radical Islamist. His pain at having to manipulate expressions of his faith in order to blend in with these horrible people was something I could viscerally feel and I felt so sorry yet grateful that he was willing and able to do it. This book was reviewed by the FBI so obviously they avoided anything that would compromise current investigations or reveal tactics but I really enjoyed learning about the strategies they were willing to reveal. Definitely opened my eyes to the scope and reach of some of their investigations. I was particularly interested in the relationship and differences between the American and Canadian law enforcement strategies. Really interesting book. Might be interesting if you are curious about the way Islamists justify their views as opposed to the typical moderate Muslim. I found it got rather repetitive at the end as it was just affirmations of plans and why they wanted to do them. The agent who goes by Tamer Elnoury is a goddamn badass.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This book is the kind of non-fiction that sneaks up on you in its addictiveness. Tamer’s story is infectious - and holy hell the narrative reads like the greatest true crime ever with a justice twinge that feels SO GOOD. But that alone wouldn’t make it 5 stars for me. No - what put this over the edge was the subtle way Tamer REALLY made me think. He put me in his shoes over and over again. How hard it was for him not only to pretend and twist his own religion, but to struggle with the idea of ho This book is the kind of non-fiction that sneaks up on you in its addictiveness. Tamer’s story is infectious - and holy hell the narrative reads like the greatest true crime ever with a justice twinge that feels SO GOOD. But that alone wouldn’t make it 5 stars for me. No - what put this over the edge was the subtle way Tamer REALLY made me think. He put me in his shoes over and over again. How hard it was for him not only to pretend and twist his own religion, but to struggle with the idea of how to redeem. How to save. How to help his Muslim brothers. How can he be a good Muslim, and be a good American, and do his job to protect Americans from the threats that face our country every day. My heart broke and tears came to my eyes at multiple points reading this. It was like a phenomenal action novel, but the story was true. I’m so grateful for the patriots like Tamer who sacrifice so much to protect this country. I’m thankful that he shared his story, including his passion and strength in his religion. Parts of this narrative were hard, but overall it left me feeling strong and protected.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Cutts

    Interesting book, very readable! This was almost cheating to read as a non-fiction book, because it reads more like a crime drama than something non-fiction. It's all written first person, in a narrative style that makes it VERY readable -- I hesitate to call something "hard to put down," but this deserves that description better than most books I read. I think I would have liked to hear a bit more about more of the abstract concepts about how undercover operations work, but Elnoury steers mostly Interesting book, very readable! This was almost cheating to read as a non-fiction book, because it reads more like a crime drama than something non-fiction. It's all written first person, in a narrative style that makes it VERY readable -- I hesitate to call something "hard to put down," but this deserves that description better than most books I read. I think I would have liked to hear a bit more about more of the abstract concepts about how undercover operations work, but Elnoury steers mostly clear of that (fair enough - as he points out, those techniques are essential parts of the law enforcement toolkit that he doesn't want to reveal). Nonetheless, it's still an interesting look into a very unique profession. Overall, worth the read if you're interested in national security, terrorism, or even just enjoy crime novels.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Wow! I was not looking forward to reading this book. I am not a political person at all, so when this book was chosen for my book club I knew It would be a challenge to get through. I was very wrong! This book pulled me in and gave me a lot to think about. It seemed to be geared more to a non Muslim audience because it explained many terms and beliefs in basic terms to give readers some basic information which was nice(but potentially annoying for those more familiar with the religion). It also Wow! I was not looking forward to reading this book. I am not a political person at all, so when this book was chosen for my book club I knew It would be a challenge to get through. I was very wrong! This book pulled me in and gave me a lot to think about. It seemed to be geared more to a non Muslim audience because it explained many terms and beliefs in basic terms to give readers some basic information which was nice(but potentially annoying for those more familiar with the religion). It also made me mad at Canada. You could tell that Mr. Elnoury wanted you to feel that way too. Overall a great read and gave me a lot to think about. If you enjoy the TV show Criminal Minds this is something you should read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Allison Isaacs

    I LOVED this book. Like absolutely, over the moon, going to buy this ASAP, loved. As if action, mystery, intrigue, suspense, fear, terrorism, and undercover work wasn’t enough - it’s all REAL which makes it so much more profound and remarkable. I was so swept up in this FBI agent’s bravery and resourcefulness in infiltrating and taking down multiple Islamic extremists. But I think what was perhaps the most enlightening was Tamer’s ability to portray real humanity in an absolute monster. This read I LOVED this book. Like absolutely, over the moon, going to buy this ASAP, loved. As if action, mystery, intrigue, suspense, fear, terrorism, and undercover work wasn’t enough - it’s all REAL which makes it so much more profound and remarkable. I was so swept up in this FBI agent’s bravery and resourcefulness in infiltrating and taking down multiple Islamic extremists. But I think what was perhaps the most enlightening was Tamer’s ability to portray real humanity in an absolute monster. This read taught me so much about religion and the vast differences among Islamic extremists. Not to mention the depth of distortion that can occur when led down the wrong path. My guess is that few individuals could have told such a story or lived such a tale, and I am so deeply thankful that this man did both. Highly, highly recommend.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Symanczyk

    This book is less of a memoir of life as an undercover agent in general and more of a recounting of a single, spectacular infiltration of a radical Islamic network. In spite of the author having to be careful not to provide too many details, you still get a fascinating glimpse into what went into the investigation that shifted back and forth between the US and Canada. Elnoury's descriptions and opinions of the Canadian law enforcement players was less than flattering at times, which was annoying This book is less of a memoir of life as an undercover agent in general and more of a recounting of a single, spectacular infiltration of a radical Islamic network. In spite of the author having to be careful not to provide too many details, you still get a fascinating glimpse into what went into the investigation that shifted back and forth between the US and Canada. Elnoury's descriptions and opinions of the Canadian law enforcement players was less than flattering at times, which was annoying, since the success of the investigation hinged so much on the cooperation between the two countries and the importance of being willing to share information and resources. I think that the trial description and the Afterword contained the heart of the book's message, that radical Islam is not representative of the vast majority of Muslims, and that excluding people and restricting immigration is not the answer. I hope that's what other readers take away from it, because it's easy to focus on the fear and suspicion.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book on audio. The author, whose name is a pseudonym as he still works undercover, tells a fascinating story of how he became an undercover FBI agent working counterterrorism and then shares the details of a specific case he worked, ultimately helping to prosecute multiple would-be terrorists. The book was funny and irreverent at times (I laughed out loud several times while listening) but was ultimately the story of how a man worked for months on end to br I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book on audio. The author, whose name is a pseudonym as he still works undercover, tells a fascinating story of how he became an undercover FBI agent working counterterrorism and then shares the details of a specific case he worked, ultimately helping to prosecute multiple would-be terrorists. The book was funny and irreverent at times (I laughed out loud several times while listening) but was ultimately the story of how a man worked for months on end to bring down those who subverted his beloved Islamic religion and wanted to harm Westerners. I really enjoyed being let into the world of undercover work and it was also interesting to get to know the terrorists and how they became radicalized. A really good nonfiction novel that shined in audio.

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