On January 25, 2017, the Program on Extremism invited Graeme Wood, author of the newly released The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State, to discuss his book with the Program’s Deputy Director, Seamus Hughes. It began with introductory remarks made by Mr. Hughes, in which he highlighted Mr. Wood’s work as a national correspondent at The Atlantic and referred to some of his best-known pieces on the Islamic State as a starting point for his book.
Mr. Wood then followed with his prepared remarks. In particular, he touched on how he sought out and spoke with the various Islamic State supporters he would later write about in his book. In wrapping up his remarks, Mr. Wood spoke about the endeavors he undertook in order to ensure the authenticity of his interviews with sympathizers, recruiters, and supporters, all of whom helped Wood develop a more nuanced perspective of the Islamic State’s ideology.
After the remarks, Mr. Hughes and Mr. Wood discussed thematic aspects of the book, as well as interviewees in the book who may have shared connections with individuals well-documented by the Program on Extremism. The discussion concluded with an audience-centered Q&A, which touched on topics such as Mr. Wood’s most memorable interview and his take on the Islamic State’s emphasis on the “coming apocalypse.”