I've read a few of Rosenberg's thrillers in the past, but this is the first non-fiction book I've picked up by him. By the way, I did a wiki search and verified that Joel C. and Joel are different authors - the latter wrote some really fun novels based on Dungeons and Dragons back in the late 70s and 80s, called the Guardians of the Flame series. Different fellow, now unfortunately deceased.
Rosenberg seems to enjoy alliteration, as his subtitle reads "How the followers of Jihad, Jefferson and Jesus are battling..." and his major section divisions within the book are the Revolutionaries, the Reformers and the Revivalists. There's also the Resisters, the Reticent and the Rank-and-File.
Some parts of the book were an interesting trip down memory lane for me, as I was in college, with an Iranian roommate (wonder what became of my friend Muhammed Husseini?), when the Iranian revolutionaries stormed the U.S. Embassy and took our folks hostage for 400 days. It seems as if the media only broadcast a small portion of what was going on, and/or I might have merely been oblivious to the big picture back in my school daze.
The book has become a bit dated at this point, as it was written in 2009, before the fall of Ghaddafi in Libya and the civil war in Syria began, but his description of those regimes seems fairly accurate, depicting those leaders as being the type who play the Islamists against the West, depending on which they feel is a bigger threat to their regime at any given point. In a 2009 interview with Lt. Gen. William Boykin, Boykin states that he thinks the Iranian regime could have a nuclear bomb in three years - so far that hasn't materialized...that we know of.
Something interesting that Rosenberg says about Islam:
"As you study the Qur'an, you will find that Islam is a works-based religion. Therefore, Radicals - and all religious Muslims who take the Qur'an seriously - constantly have to be thinking about a "51 percetn solution." They must constantly strive to do more good works that bad, lest they be dammed for all eternity. The problem is that the Qur'an does not provide a way for Muslims to assess how they are doing throughout their lives. There are no quarterly report cards."
So, when the Radicals claim that the only "true assurance or secure promise of eternal salvation is to be a martyr - and ideally a suicide bomber" there must be a certain temptation for some Muslims to accept the sure thing.
And yes, the rumor is confirmed in this book. The U.S. did, indeed support the mujahadeen in Afghanistan against the Soviet invasion.
"In July (1979), President Carter authorized a half million dollars in covert financial aid to the Islamic rebels known as the mujahadeen..."
Of course, aid continued under the Reagan administration until the Soviets were forced to withdraw from Afghanistan, but it all started with Carter. LOL.
Just as a reminder of what life was like under the Taliban in Afghanistan, before the Coalition invaded to drive them out and destroy Al Qaeda,
"Children were beaten by their fathers and psychologically abused. Their schools were shut down. Their toys were taken from them. Movies were forbidden. Television was forbidden. Radio was forbidden, except for a station that continuously taught from the Qur'an. Games were forbidden. Kite flying was forbidden. Concerts were forbidden. Playin music in public was forbidden. New Year's celebrations were forbidden. Christmas decorations were forbidden. Christianity was most certainly forbidden. Museums were closed. Zoos were closed. Dissenters were jailed. Others were murdered. Apostates were executed."
If you're interested in getting a good deep background on what has been happening for the last few decades in the Middle East, this is a great book to read. There are some especially interesting things going on with the underground spread of Christianity that I hadn't heard about at all before this. As a soothsayer, Rosenberg hasn't quite got it down, but he certainly has done his legwork on this one.