The book provides a textual analysis of the concept and practice of jihad by examining Islamic theological and legal texts, eyewitness historical accounts of Muslim and non-Muslim chroniclers, and essays by scholars analyzing jihad - "war against unbelievers in the path of Allah" - and the conditions imposed upon the non-Muslim peoples conquered by jihad campaigns.
From the book's foreword: "Dr. Bostom is the first scholar to have had translated from the Arabic the works of commentators on Sura IX.29 like al-Baydawi, al-Suyuti, al-Zamakhshari, and al-Tabari. Other primary sources translated for the first time into English include documents on Jihad such as the one written by al-Ghazali.... Similarly, Dr Bostom is the first scholar to have overseen the translations of important, and in some cases, neglected or forgotten secondary sources from French works on Jihad by Edmond Fagnan, Roger Arnaldez, Charles Emmanuel Dufourcq, Clement Huart, Dimitar Angelov, and Maria Mathilde Alexandrescu-Dersca Bulgaru.
The Jerusalem Post calls The Legacy of Jihad "a breakthrough inasmuch as the enormous task of assembling together all the major sources which govern the holy war in Islam had never been attempted before,"
- Bostom, Andrew, ed. (2005). The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-59102-307-6.