On 29 June 2014, the first day of Ramadan, the leaders of a Sunni army operating on the Syria-Iraq border proclaimed an 'Islamic State' under the rule of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, its new 'caliph'. For many, this was the first we had heard of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Isis), or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil); but its forces, fanaticism and cruelty were to become all too familiar.

In Isis: Battling the Menace, Patrick Cockburn provides unique insights into the Islamic State scourge. He traces the origin of Isis, confronts the horror of its methods, and details its threat to the Middle East and the world at large through a series of his articles published by The Independent.

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