In September 2014, the French government entrusted Tobie Nathan with the task of counselling radicalized young people who had been drawn to jihadism and in this book he recounts his experiences of some of the young people he met and counselled. He describes what he heard, felt and perceived in his encounters with these young people and their loved ones as he tried to understand the forces running through them and tried to grasp what their fate held in store for them. In so doing, he shows that the history of radicalizations is not the history of ‘natures’ but of metamorphoses – an unpredictable journey, with moments of immobility punctuated by sudden intoxication at the thought of other futures. It is a history of wandering souls who find themselves unable to form a narrative of origin and in thrall to harmful forces but who may find a way home one day.
This deeply humane and engaging book will be of great interest to everyone concerned with the issue of radicalization and with the deep and growing challenges our societies face in accommodating difference.