NBN Brisbane AU interviews author
Patrick Dunleavy is the author of The Fertile Soil of Jihad: Terrorism’s Prison Connection (Potomac Books, 2011). He provides us with a fascinating insight into the radicalization process within the prison system. This is a sensitive topic but Dunleavy does not provide a political commentary on radicalization or Islam but rather acknowledges that the process can occur and gives us a detailed recounting of one such group within the New York Correctional system. He discusses a few key characters and how they ended up in prison and the circumstances that led to their participation in radical thought. The most interesting parts of the book for me were the methods of prison life that aided the process; the ability to communicate with the outside world and the massaging of internal security routines to allow interaction and coordination with others inside the system. This is not a morality play, but rather a description of a process. We can certainly learn a lot through books such as these that reduce our naivety about the ingenuity of prison inmates who have a lot of time to think and experiment with their immediate environment. Radicalization is a serious issue but for me this was a book more about the world of incarceration than terrorism.