Jessica Stern


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Now available! ISIS: The State of Terror

The State of Terror Book Cover

Drawing on their unusual access to intelligence sources, law enforcement, and groundbreaking research, two of America’s leading experts on violent extremism and terrorism explain the genesis, evolution, and implications of today’s most barbaric jihadist army, Islamic State—and how we can fight it.

Jessica Stern is a Lecturer on Terrorism at Harvard University, an Advanced Academic Candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Psychoanalysis and serves on the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law. She is the author of Denial: A Memoir of Terror, Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year), and The Ultimate Terrorists. J.M. Berger is the author of Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, a critically acclaimed history of the American jihadist movement, and editor of Beatings and Bureaucracy: The Founding Memos of al Qaeda.  He is a regular contributor to Foreign Policy magazine, and his website,, has published thousands of declassified documents on the September 11 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Learn more about the book.

Upcoming Talks and Events

March 26: Interview on MPR News with Tom Weber (Radio, Minnesota)

March 30: Interview with Leonard Lopate on WNYC (New York, NY)

March 30: Interview with Huffpost Live (New York, NY)

March 30: ISIS: The State of Terror talk and signing at Book Culture (New York, NY)

March 31: Talk at the Tri-State Women’s Panel (New York, NY)

April 6: ISIS: The State of Terror talk and signing at the Harvard Book Store (Cambridge, MA)

See ‘Interviews & Public Appearances’ section for past talks.

On the Islamic State and Terrorism

FOREIGN POLICYBrief Interviews with Hideous Terrorists

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Iraq: Where Terrorists Go to School

COST OF WAR PROJECT: Terrorism after the 2003 Invasion of Iraq


NRC Handelsblad (In Dutch)

To The Point

All Things Considered 

PBS Newshour

American Academy of Arts & Sciences


BBC’s NewsHour


State of the Union 

Recent Work

TERRORISM AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE : Response to Marc Sageman’s “The Stagnation in Terrorism Research”

HOOVER INSTITUTE: The Imperative to Protect Institutions: An Amended Front-Page Rule

TIME: The War Against Terror Must Be Fought With Words Too

TIME:  We Need to Worry About Somali Terrorists in the U.S.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: The Suicidal Tendencies of Suicide Bombers 

THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: Terrorism Research Has Not Stagnated (with John Horgan)

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Iraq – Where Terrorists Go to School

HOOVER INSTITUTION: The Costs of the Moral Injury to Our Troops Fighting the Wars on Terrorism

Read more of Jessica’s writing, and check out more interviews with her.

Jessica Talks at the GRID13 Summit in Stockholm

Jessica presents “Talking to Terrorists” at the 2013 annual GRID two-day summit in Stockholm.  In the talk, she describes how she has met terrorists with Kalashnikovs in Pakistan, interviewed neo-Nazis in America and Sweden, and visited the homes of terrorist leaders in Indonesia. But it was only after she faced her own suppressed trauma that she understood why she was more afraid to meet the victims than the terrorists themselves.

Jessica talks at TEDx Amsterdam 2011

Jessica gives a presentation at the 2011 TEDx Amsterdam Women Conference. She reveals a revolutionary idea with the potential to transform counterterrorism. The project is aimed at amplifying the voices of former terrorists who have left their terrorist organizations.

Check out Jessica’s interview on the TV show “Gesprek op 2″ after her resent TEDx presentation in The Netherlands. She talks about her book Denial and how her own experiences relate to her studies of terrorists. The beginning is in Dutch, however the actual interview is in English. Enjoy!

 DENIAL: A Memoir of Terror

In DENIAL: A Memoir of Terror, one of the world’s foremost experts on terrorism and post-traumatic stress disorder investigates her own unsolved adolescent sexual assault at the hands of a serial rapist, and, in so doing, examines the horrors of trauma and denial.

Learn more about the book.

“I know that I was raped. But here is the odd thing. If my sister had not been raped, too, if she didn’t remember— if I didn’t have this police report right in front of me on my desk—I might doubt that the rape occurred. The memory feels a bit like a dream. It has hazy edges. Are there aspects of what I think I recall that I might have made up?”  – Chapter 1, page 7

Read the preface and chapter 1 excerpt of “Denial”

Denial: A Memoir of Terror

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“I have been quiet, and I have listened all my life.
But now, I will finally speak.”

Click to view photo slideshow

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