Counterterrorism Bookshelf:

30 Books on Terrorism & Counter-Terrorism-Related Subjects

Reviewed by Joshua Sinai

This column consists of capsule reviews of recent books from various publishers.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), The Military Balance 2016 (New York, NY: Routledge, 2016), 504 pp., US $618.00 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-85743-835-2.

The annually published The Military Balance, which is published by the London-based The International Institute for Strategic Studies, is considered the most authoritative, comprehensive and detailed assessment of the military capabilities and defense economics of 171 countries. It is widely used as an unclassified reference resource by governments’ military and intelligence agencies, as well as public policy research institutes, around the world. The volume is divided into two parts: Part One, “Capabilities, Trends and Economics,” and Part Two, “Reference.” Attesting to the significance of the terrorist threat facing much of the global community, the editor’s introduction, entitled “Modernising Military Capabilities; Familiar Security Challenges,” begins with an overview of the terrorist threat, as he writes that “A surge in high-profile terrorist attacks at the end of 2015 added to the increasing crises, conflicts and sense of uncertainty preoccupying the planning staffs of defense ministries worldwide.” (p. 5) Given “the reality that combating terrorism was a global, not just a regional issue,” the editor adds that terrorist groups such as ISIS “cannot be eradicated solely by military means. Tackling these groups will require multinational attention and the concerted and long-term application of policies and tools blending political, military, security, information and development capabilities, and agreement on ends as well as means: [with] the track record on such cooperation…mixed at best.” (p. 5) With the volume’s chapters focusing on the military capabilities of global regions and their countries, of particular interest to the counterterrorism community is their detailing of countries’ combating terrorism forces. Thus, for example, it details that the United States’ Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) consists of 63,150 active forces and 6,550 civilians (p. 48), France has 3 Special Forces groups (p. 98), that Norway’s Army has 2 Special Forces groups and one Naval Special Forces group (p. 126), the United Kingdom has a large contingent of Royal Navy, Army and RAF Special Forces regiments and squadrons (p. 155), Russia has 489,000 Paramilitary forces, 10,000-30,000 Federal Protection Services forces, and 170,000 Interior Troops, India has 1,403,700 Paramilitary forces and 7,350 National Security Guards (p. 255), and that Israel has 3 Army Special Forces battalions and 1 Special Operations brigade, 300 Naval Commandos, and 8,000 Border Police forces (pp. 333- 335). The appendices include a listing of estimated forces and equipment by selected terrorist groups such as the Lebanese Hizballah, ISIS, and Boko Haram.

Nick Catrantzos, Managing the Insider Threat: No Dark Corners (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2012), 363 pp., US $76.95 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-4398-7292-5.

This is an authoritative textbook on the manifestations of the insider threat and the methods required to mitigate the challenges presented by the threat. It is divided into three parts: Part I, “Diagnostics” (defining the nature of the threat and the danger posed by such individuals who possess “legitimate access and occupies a position of trust” in an organization that is ultimately betrayed, and various analytical approaches employed to assess this threat); Part II, “Key Players” (the types of ‘insiders’ ranging from those who wage cyber sabotage or breaches on behalf of foreign governments or political causes, those who seek financial gain, to those who engage in workplace violence); and Part III, “Making a Difference” (the role of background investigations in vetting employees who might present an ‘insider’ threat, how to recognize deception by potential insiders, and the components of a preventative program to mitigate such threats to an organization). As a textbook, each chapter includes a summary conclusion, questions for classroom discussion, exercises for group projects, and endnotes. The appendices include additional questions and issues for further discussion. This textbook is ideal for university courses and as a practical handbook for security departments that focus on countering the insider threat. What is especially noteworthy about this textbook is that it was published prior to the insider attacks by Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden – but had its insights and preventative guidelines and protocols been employed at the time could have aided in preventing such costly breaches into the U.S. government’s national security classified information systems. The author, a veteran security director, teaches homeland security and emergency management at the School of Management, University of Alaska.

Daniel Cunningham, Sean Everton, and Philip Murphy, Understanding Dark Networks: A Strategic Framework for the Use of Social Network Analysis (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), 388 pp., US $98.00 [Hardcover], US $55.00 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-442-24944-8.

This is a comprehensive and detailed account about how social network analysis (SNA) is employed to map and understand what are termed “dark networks” in order to formulate strategies to counter, disrupt, and defeat them. Such “dark networks” are generally covert and illegal in nature. The groups within these networks range from terrorists, criminal gangs, drug traffickers, criminal organizations, to white collar conspiracies. The volume is divided into four sections. The first part presents an overview of SNA, its strategic uses to disrupt dark networks, and how data about such networks is collected, coded, and manipulated, for example, to formulate disruption strategies; the second part explores the nature of the dark networks in terms of their topographical nature, how to detect subgroups and central actors within such networks, and how to identify the roles of different actors within such networks; the third part explains the use of hypotheses to “dig deeper” into such networks, as well as how longitudinal analysis is used “to identify the causes and consequences of network change…” (p. 267) The book’s concluding fourth part presents a series of lessons learned, such as the important observation that “Analysts should not forget that the actors in dark networks are dynamic entities and not static or one-dimensional” and that “Something as extreme as the removal of one of their neighbors will cause them to suddenly change their behavior, and a series of removals will likely cause the network to look completely different from what the initial investigation revealed.” (p. 297) The appendices include a description of the data and coding used in the discussion and their application to case studies such as the Afghan tribal network, a glossary of terms, analytic software used in SNA, and reference sources. The authors are affiliated with the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Jolle Demmers, Theories of Violent Conflict: An Introduction (New York, NY: Routledge, 2012), 158 pp., US $54.95 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-0-415-55534-0.

This book’s objective is to employ a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates a range of theoretical frameworks to “explain and understand how and why (groups of) people resort to violent action against other (groups of) combatants, civilians, organizations or the state.” (p. 2) After defining the field of conflict, including civil war, and mapping the interactions of the primary and secondary parties, including their external environment, the discussion focuses on the actors’ social identity (such as their ethnicity) and how it affects their mobilization to engage in collective violent action, such as inter-group violence. Another chapter discusses the application of rational choice theory to explain the costs and benefits of engaging in conflict, driven by the assumption that “Basically, rational choice theories of conflict start from the proposition that individuals will conduct civil war if the perceived benefits outweigh the costs of rebellion.” (p. 101) Some of the analysis is overly jargon-laden and difficult to understand, such as his observation that “In his quest to find the ‘true motivation for rebellion’, [Paul] Collier takes an explanatory epistemological stance. That is, he studies social action from without and infers motivation from patterns of observed behavior. In this view, interpretation, meaning or sense-making are merely seen as distortions.” (p. 102) In another example of academic jargon, the author writes that “Social theorists referred to the riots as acts of ‘defective consumers’, as a manifestation of a consumerist desire violently enacted when unable to realize itself the proper way: by shopping” (Bauman 2011); or highlighted how the UK has become a securitocracy (Gilroy 2011).” (p. 139) In an overly long concluding paragraph on “What to do with theory,” the author writes that “Theoretical literacy is thus different from fluency: the end goal is not to have you ‘speak’ the language of constructivist instrumentalism, social identity theory or critical discourse analysis without a flaw. Rather, it is about using these ideas and vocabularies, acknowledging their underlying affinities and tensions, and finding your own voice.” (p. 142) A revised and updated edition of this book is scheduled to be published in 2017, so hopefully its analysis will be written in clear language. The author is a professor at Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Frances L. Flannery, Understanding Apocalyptic Terrorism: Countering the Radical Mindset (New York, NY: Routledge, 2016), 272 pages, pp., US $155.00 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-138-77954-9.

This is a highly interesting and authoritative examination of the phenomenon of what the author terms “radical apocalyptic terrorism” – with apocalypticism defined as “an orientation to reality that mainstains that the divine (or ‘transcendent’) realm has sent a revelation to a select few persons, the righteous, disclosing the divine view through a transformative or meaningful experience. This revelation affirms that evil forces rule the mundane realm that the righteous now inhabit, but someday there will be divine intervention that will dramatically change the operation of the cosmos by overcoming this evil, allowing the righteous to partake more fully of the divine reality.” (pp. 2-3) Following a general discussion of the parameters and characteristics of apocalypticism as illustrated in the Book of Revelation, two chapters then explore key changes in how it was interpreted in the Middle Ages, with its largely pacifist ideology transformed into a militant one, which the author then applies to an examination of the case study of a Christian group, the Covenant, Sword and the Arm of the Lord. The succeeding chapters apply the notion of apocalypticism to contemporary terrorist groups such as al Qaida, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), as well as lone actors such as Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, and other American domestic groups. Other terrorist groups and lone actors that fall under this category are also examined, such as James Lee, an eco-terrorist, the Unabomber, and new religious movements, such as the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo. The concluding chapter proposes an approach to countering such apocalyptic terrorist groups. Based on long-term multi-targeted efforts to improve governance of marginalized populations where such radical movements proliferate, this approach is driven by counter-messaging campaigns in social media “that come from members of larger, peaceful communities with which a terrorist seeks to identify,” and a “fact-based, informational approach that publicizes an extremist group’s ‘sins’ within its own theological context.” (p. 250) Such campaigns would involve not only government agencies but non-governmental, grass-roots and faith-based organizations, as well as academic experts. The author is a Professor of Religion and Director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Terrorism and Peace (CISTP), James Madison University, Virginia.

Priya Dixit and Jacob L. Stump, editors, Critical Methods in Terrorism Studies (New York, NY: Routledge 2016), 216 pp., US $155.00 [Hardcover], US $44.95 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-138-01872-3.

The contributors to this edited volume are part of the sub-discipline of what is termed Critical Terrorism Studies, a dissident literature in the field of terrorism and counterterrorism studies. In its dissidence, it attempts to replace the predominant and entrenched modes of knowledge-production of ‘regimes of truth’ about terrorism and counterterrorism with its own epistemologies that “illustrate historical materialism’s emphasis on class antagonism and dialectics, discursive epistemologies that focus on the construction of meaning and its interaction with social processes and institutions, experiential knowledge of postcolonial and nationalistic politics and social processes, feminist standpoint epistemology of the marginalized, de-colonial knowledge of subjugated populations, and filmically depicted stories of ordinary people.” (p. 14) To achieve these stated objectives, the volume’s authors discuss issues such as Foucauldian and realist approaches to terrorism discourse, applying Marxism’s historical materialism to critical terrorism studies, viewing terrorists as co-participants, ecologizing terrorism through ethnographic fieldwork, applying metaphor analysis to study terrorism, using a reflexive postcolonial methodology to study Palestinian resistance in the West Bank, applying marginality as a feminist research method in terrorism and counter-terrorism studies, analyzing the testimony of ex-militants, and an analysis of the visualization through films of the ‘war on terror.’ In the concluding chapter, the co-editors are out-of-date when they repeat an assertion, published in 2008 (which they do not cite), that “Books on terrorism are produced at the rate of one every six hours.” (191) In this case, since their sub-discipline aims to engage in empirically-driven scholarship, shouldn’t they rely on more current estimates? With the co-editors concluding that the objective of their sub-discipline is to dismantle “existing modes of thinking, writing, representing, and communicating terrorism which mainly privileges a ‘Western’ masculinized view of the world,” (p. 198) while there is much ground to criticize mainstream terrorism and counterterrorism studies, this volume, in this reviewer’s judgment, merely presents its own problematic and jargon-laden theoretical approach.

James J.F. Forest, The Terrorism Lectures: A Comprehensive Collection for Students of Terrorism, Counterterrorism, and National Security [2nd Edition] (Santa Ana, CA: Nortia Current/An Imprint of Nortia Press, 2015), 390 pp., US $24.95 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-9400503-06-6.

In this comprehensive and well-written textbook, the author’s aim is “to simulate the experience of a semester-long university course on terrorism. Each chapter represents what is meant to be a 35-40 minute classroom lecture.” (p. xiii). This is accomplished through the book’s five parts. The first part, “Definitions and Historical Frameworks,” discusses how terrorism is defined, its general objectives, David Rapoport’s famous formulation of the four historical waves of modern terrorism, and how terrorist groups, as “learning organizations,” learn from each other’s modus operandi and weaponry. The second part, “Underlying Contexts That Motivate and Facilitate Terrorism,” examines the underlying grievances that drive terrorism, how individuals are radicalized and recruited into terrorism, the exploitation of the media and the Internet by terrorists, the economic dimensions of terrorism (e.g., economic conditions as grievances and facilitators, and the economic impact of terrorism on their targeted societies), the financial and criminal dimensions of terrorism (e.g., the nexus between terrorist groups and criminal organizations and engagement by terrorist groups in criminal activities), and the political dimensions of terrorism, ranging from state support of terrorist groups to the competition over control of weak and failed states between terrorist group insurgents and their weak governments. The third part, “Terrorist Group Ideologies and Strategies,” discusses the ideological types of terrorist groups, ranging from ethnonationalist/separatist, left-wing, right-wing, to religious. The fourth part, “Contemporary Challenges,” analyzes the latest challenges posed by terrorism in the form of al Qaida [which also applies to its parallel variation, ISIS], lone actor terrorism, the use by terrorist groups of the tactic of suicide bombings, and the threats presented by the potential use by terrorists of weapons of mass destruction. The fifth’s part, “Concluding Thoughts,” presents the author’s take on the future trajectory of terrorism in terms of possible new trends in their organizational formations, ideology, weaponry, areas of operation, and warfare scenarios. As a textbook, each chapter includes a summary, questions for discussion, recommended readings, and endnotes. The comprehensive and authoritative treatment of these subjects makes this an ideal primary textbook for courses on terrorism and counterterrorism. The author is Professor and Director of the Security Studies program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the co-editor of Perspectives on Terrorism.

Brigitte L. Nacos, Terrorism and Counterterrorism [Fifth Edition] (New York, NY: Routledge, 2016), 478 pp., US $250.00 [Hardcover], US $85.95 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-138-19014-6.

This is the fifth edition of this comprehensive and detailed textbook, which was first published in 2005. Following an introductory overview, the volume is divided into three parts. The first part, “Terrorism,” covers topics such as how to define terrorism; the terrorist threat in America and the global context; the nature of religious terrorism; the underlying causes of terrorism, including the processes of radicalization into terrorism, the roles of leaders and followers in terrorist groups, and terrorists’ motivations and agendas; how terrorists’ use women and children in their warfare; terrorists’ objectives, tactics, and targeting, including the types of weapons employed in their warfare, and future trends in warfare, such as the use of weapons of mass destruction; and how terrorist groups are organized and engage in funding activities. The second part, “Counterterrorism,” discusses issues such as the nature of America’s post-9/11 countering terrorism campaign; the effectiveness of “hard” and “soft” measures in counterterrorism; the issues involved in balancing the need for security and civil liberties and human rights; and, with a special focus on the United States, the roles of prevention and preparedness in managing a homeland security program. The third part, “Terrorism and Counterterrorism in News Media and Internet,” discusses how the news media covers terrorist events and how terrorists exploit cyberspace for their propaganda and radicalization objectives. While the analysis throughout the textbook is sound and well-written, this reviewer does not agree with the author’s conclusion that “an overblown, expensive bureaucracy has not necessarily enhanced [America’s] ability to prevent further terrorist attacks, and to effectively respond if terrorists manage to strike,” (p. 425) or that the magnitude of the terrorist threat is overblown. Nevertheless, this volume is recommended as a primary textbook for courses on terrorism and counterterrorism studies. The author is a veteran academic in terrorism studies and serves as adjunct professor of political science at Columbia University, in New York.

Joshua D. Freilich and Gary LaFree, editors, Criminology Theory and Terrorism (New York, NY: Routledge, 2016), 220 pp., US $160.00 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-138-85826-8.

This edited volume was originally published as a special issue of the quarterly journal “Terrorism and Political Violence,” which focused on criminological approaches to the study of terrorism. Such a disciplinary approach is especially pertinent given the fact that terrorism falls within the domain of criminology since its activities involve, as the editors’ note, “the breaking of laws and reactions to the breaking of laws.” (p. 1) Interestingly, while terrorist and criminal incidents involve breaking a country’s laws, the editors’ note that collecting terrorist incident data is much more difficult in terms of “official” data collected by police, “victimization” data collected from the population of victims, and “self-report” data collected from offenders because terrorist acts “often cut across several more common types of criminal categories,” as well as the fact that victimization surveys are little used in the study of terrorism. (p. 4) Another reason, although not mentioned by the editors, may be the fact that as a national security threat, intelligence agencies that are tasked with countering terrorism operate in a covert environment, where such data is considered classified.

Following the editors overview of criminology theory and terrorism, the volume’s chapters discuss issues such as the application of subcultural theory to analyzing Jihadi and right-wing radicalization in Germany, the use of “rational choice rewards” in studying Jihadist suicide bombers, the influence on the rate of terrorist attacks on country-level social disorganization caused by their operations, applying a criminological approach to analyzing right-wing, left-wing, and al Qaida-inspired extremists in the United States, analyzing the impact of a counter-terrorism campaign’s deterrence and backlash effects on the Spanish ETA group, and an empirical comparison of the victims of ideologically- and non-ideologically- motivated homicides committed by American far-rightist extremists. Joshua Freilich is affiliated with the Doctoral Program in Criminal Justice and the Department of Criminal Justice, John Jay College, City University of New York, and Gary LaFree is affiliated with the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.

David Lowe, Policing Terrorism: Research Studies into Police Counterterrorism Investigations (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2016), 203 pp., US $80.96 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-4822-2683-6.

This is an authoritative, practitioner-based socio-legal study by a former veteran UK counterterrorism detective of significant issues involved in terrorism investigations. The volume is divided into two parts. The first part, “The Law Governing Terrorism Investigations,” covers topics such as the legal definition of terrorism, defining and ascertaining evidence that confirms when a religiously extremist activity can be associated with terrorism, statutory preventative measures against terrorism, legal justifications for engaging in surveillance of suspects, and countering the funding of terrorism. The second part, “Investigating Terrorism,” discusses the legal guidelines in conducting intelligence gathering operations by police forces, understanding the signs and activities that accompany radicalization into terrorism (based on a case study from Northern Ireland), police recruitment of informants in counterterrorism investigations, and the laws and policies governing the handling of such informants, including managing their court testimony, immunity from prosecution or reduction in their sentencing. The author is a principal lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University Law School in the UK.

Lindsay A. Harvell and Gwendelyn W. Nisbett, editors, Denying Death: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Terror Management Theory (New York, NY: Routledge, 2016), 224 pp., US $160.00 [Hardcover], US $54.95 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-138-84314-1.

The contributors to this conceptually innovative edited volume apply Ernest Becker’s Terror Management Theory – a psychological means of self-esteem to provide existential protection to individuals who fear death – to a variety of fields such as political worldviews, civic engagement, public health, crime and law, marketing, suicide prevention, the way emergency first responders communicate, and airport security. With the co-editors receiving their doctorates in social influence and political communication from the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Harvell is an assistant professor at James Madison University, Virginia, and Dr. Nisbett is an assistant professor at the University of North Texas.

Willem Koomen and Joop Van Der Pligt, The Psychology of Radicalization and Terrorism (New York, NY: Routledge, 2016), 284 pp., US $155.00 [Hardcover], US $52.95 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-848-72442-6.

This is an interesting and innovative conceptual framework for analyzing the primary determinants and backgrounds of different types of radicalization pathways into terrorism. It is based on the authors’ initial research for the Dutch Ministry of Justice, which they have broadened to provide a more international context. In examining the psychology of radicalization into terrorism, the religious, ideological, nationalist/separatist components are also discussed, including its ‘Islamic’ manifestations, since they represent the most lethal current threats. Radicalization is focused upon because it “almost always” precedes terrorism, and “is a phase in which much can be done to preempt that possibility…” (p. 4) The book’s chapter’s discuss topics such as the root causes of terrorism (e.g., a sense of socio-economic deprivation and discrimination); the impact of perceived threats on the radicalization process; the roles of individual factors, such as personality (such as an abnormal personality trait or an authoritarian personality type, demographics, including socioeconomic or marital status), on radicalization into violent extremism; the roles of social identity in the form of ideology and religion, in driving polarization and collective action; the role of small group processes and community support in driving extremism into violence; and pathways into terrorism, as well as the processes involved in de-radicalization and disengagement from terrorism – and the factors that cause the termination of terrorist groups, whether through coercive or conciliatory means. There is much to commend in this book, particularly its comprehensive examination of leading academic theories and approaches and how they apply to actual cases. Also especially valuable is the inclusion of flowchart figures to illustrate and synthesize each chapter’s discussion, such as Figure 9.2 on the “Rise and decline of violent extremism” (p. 235). The authors’ finding that “there is absolutely no evidence to support [the] idea” that extremists and terrorists “have abnormal personalities” may be challenged, since many of those who become terrorists, such as those with a criminal background, would not be described as “normal.” (p. 111) Also, their finding that “the belief in human inequality that characterizes people with a strong social dominance orientation may also drive them towards the extreme right,” (p. 111) is correct – although they should have added that it also drives such individuals into extremist right-wing “religious groups,” such as the Jihadists, as well. The volume is highly recommended as a textbook for courses on terrorism and counterterrorism. Dr. Koomen is affiliated with the Department of Social Psychology of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where Dr. van der Pligt, who died in 2015, had also served as Professor.

Max Taylor, Jason Roach, and Ken Pease, editors, Evolutionary Psychology and Terrorism (New York, NY: Routledge, 2016), 202 pp., US $155.00 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-138-77458-2.

The contributors to this theoretically innovative edited volume apply the evolutionary psychology (EP) approach to psychology to explain the psychology of terrorism and the impact of terrorism on its targeted society. EP is selected as the volume’s conceptual framework because, as explained by the editors, it “offers the best potential for an integrative approach, embracing biological, behavioural and social perspectives operating within a sense of a complex and dynamic system.” (p. 6) What is EP? As explained by Max Taylor, in his chapter on “Evolutionary Psychology, Terrorism, and Terrorist Behaviour,” it places “explanations of behaviour and psychological phenomena as functional products of adaptation and natural selection within their environments.” (p. 19) Following the editors’ introductory overview, the volume’s chapters discuss issues such as the nature of EP and how it applies to terrorism; how EP can be used to explain how certain individuals decide to engage in terrorism (e.g., “the human propensity for altruism and punishment” (p. 14); the spectrum of psychological and behavioural responses to terrorist attacks that explain why terrorism is so “terrifying”; and “how different distances from acts of terrorism produce varying levels of fear/terror.” (p. 14) The editors are prominent United Kingdom-based forensic psychologists and academics.

Michael Fredholm, editor, Understanding Lone Actor Terrorism: Past Experience, Future Outlook, and Response Strategies (New York, NY: Routledge, 2016), 312 pp., US $145.00 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-138-10051-0.

This edited volume is the result of an international seminar organized by the editor in Stockholm, Sweden, for the National Center for Terrorist Threat Assessment (NCT), a working group of the Swedish Security Service, Military Intelligence and Security Directorate, and National Defence Radio Establishment. This was followed as an academic project on lone actor terrorism, with follow-on discussions by the participants. One of the unique aspects of this project is that most of the volume’s contributors are European experts – with the exception of this reviewer, who contributed two chapters on profiling the mindsets and activities of different types of lone actors: active shooters and those who become insider threats to their organizations. This reviewer was also added to the project following the holding of these workshops. Aside from this reviewer’s chapters, the contributors to this volume examine the relationship between the lone actor (also known as “lone wolf”) and terrorism, historical lessons drawn from early anarchist lone actors, whether left-wing or right-wing, environmental and animal rights extremists operating in the current period, lone actors inspired by al Qaida and the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), female lone actors, lone actors who conduct school shootings, lone actor terrorism and CBRN weapons, the mindsets of lone actors, lone actors’ online activities, the components of effective countermeasures against lone terrorist actors, and future trends in lone actor terrorism. The volume’s editor is affiliated with the Stockholm International Program for Central Asian Studies (SIPCAS), Sweden.

Cato Hemmingby and Tore Bjorgo, The Dynamics of a Terrorist Targeting Process: Anders B. Breivik and the 22 July Attacks in Norway (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), X, 131 pp., US $69.99 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-137-57996-6.

This is a conceptually innovative examination of terrorists’ targeting decision-making processes, using Anders Breivik’s July 22, 2011 attacks in Norway as a case study. In conducting their research, the authors (both prominent Norwegian criminologists) were provided unique access to source material about the investigation of Breivik’s attacks and the subsequent trial, making the case study highly revealing and authoritative. Although the authors focus on a “solo” terrorist as opposed to a larger organized terrorist group, many of their findings apply to all terrorists, as they write that “this case demonstrates how terrorists – single actors as well as group-based – may have to change their [targeting] plans as things often do not develop as they had intended and expected.” (p. 6) Terrorists’ target selection, therefore, is a “highly dynamic process,” involving factors “such as time, capacity and funding…” (pp. 6-7) To examine their thesis, the book’s chapters discuss topics such as theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches to targeting decision-making (e.g., the relationship between ideology and strategy, and the internal and external factors that influence a perpetrator’s tactics); a taxonomy of the types of targets and target categories that serve as a “menu” to terrorists from which to choose in their attacks; the ideology and strategy that drove Breivik to select his targets (e.g., in his case, the strategy of a “massive ‘shock-attack’”); selecting his weaponry in the form of bombs and guns for his intended maximum effect attacks; conducting pre-incident surveillance as well as selecting a farm to conduct his training; and finalizing his attack plan. The remaining chapters reconstruct the attacks and analyze its consequences in terms of the effectiveness of the police response, present an overview of the trial, the results of Breivik’s psychiatric examinations, his sentencing; and examine the differences and similarities between Breivik and other lone terrorists in the West in terms of their strategies and tactics, including the constraints facing security services in detecting potential lone actors as opposed to larger terrorist groups. The authors conclude that “in a holistic perspective, solo terrorism cannot be characterized as the gravest threat we face, but it is certainly a serious threat that cannot be neglected.” (p. 114) The authors are affiliated with the Norwegian Police University College, where Dr. Bjorgo is a Professor of Police Science, and Mr. Hemmingby, a research fellow, also serves as a senior advisor in the Norwegian Government Security and Service Organization.

Unni Turrettini, The Mystery of the Lone Wolf Killer: Anders Behring Breivik and the Threat of Terror in Plain Sight (New York, NY: Pegasus Books, 2015), 272 pp., US $27.95 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-60598-910-5.

In this highly interesting and insightful account of Anders Breivik as an archetypical lone wolf terrorist, the author, a Norwegian attorney and author, set out to write a sociological study on “how Norway facilitated the personality disorders that led to Breivik’s killing spree,” but ended up adding leading psychological approaches to profiling such a mass murderer and his environment. (pp. xx-xxi). In this effort, the author was greatly helped by Dr. Kathleen M. Puckett, a former FBI behavioral analyst, who had earlier co-authored a book on Timothy McVeigh, one of America’s most notorious lone wolf terrorists. Dr. Puckett also wrote the book’s Foreword. Beginning with an account of Breivik’s troubled childhood in which he had trouble connecting with his peers, the author shows how an individual such as Breivik, as a potential lone wolf, “cannot connect with others – nor even in ‘extremist’ groups–these individuals connect with just the ideology of the group, as Breivik ultimately did” in his adulthood–in his case, in the form of his 1,516 page manifesto which presented him as the leader of the struggle, which paved the way for his murderous rampage. Subsequent chapters describe Breivik’s extensive and meticulous planning for his attacks and the early warning signs that were missed by the Norwegian security services. Of particular interest is the author’s profile of lone wolf killers, which she distinguishes from serial killers. Some of the characteristics of lone wolf killers include attachment difficulties, feeling bullied or suffering an injustice, rage, narcissism, a need for release for their rage, and a desire to kill on a societal level, in order “to be seen, to matter.” (p. 183) Also making this account especially valuable is the author’s linking Breivik’s mindset and activities to other lone wolf terrorists, such as Timothy McVeigh and Theodore Kaczynski, who are discussed throughout the book. Citing the work of Dr. Puckett, the author concludes that one of the most effective ways to preempt lone wolf terrorists (and active shooters) is to mobilize those who come into contact with such individuals in their communities to alert authorities about their troublesome personalities, especially when it appears they might turn to violence to redress their perceived sense of grievance and injustice.

Terry D. Turchie and Kathleen M. Puckett, Hunting the American Terrorist: The FBI’s War on Homegrown Terror (Palisades NY: History Publishing Company, 2007), 294 pp., US $24.95 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-933909-34-9.

This is a fascinating inside account by two FBI special agents of their Bureau’s investigation that led to the capture of Theodor Kaczynski (known as “The Unabomber”), one of America’s most notorious lone wolf terrorists, who evaded capture between 1978 and 1995 while killing and maiming his victims in his extremist crusade to halt technological advances in society. By the time Mr. Turchie had assembled his team, which included Dr. Puckett, it took them some 24 months to put together a psychological profile of Kaczynski that ultimately succeeded in apprehending him (with his brother’s assistance). While the story of Kaczynski and his terrorist activities are well known (with extensive inside information provided in this book), what makes this account especially pertinent to the current period is Dr. Puckett’s profiling of the characteristics of a lone wolf, which predated the proliferation of such profiling following the proliferation of lone wolf terrorist attacks in the aftermath of 9/11. Drawing on the characteristics of Kaczynksi and other American lone wolf terrorists, such as Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, and others, Dr. Puckett writes that “The Lone Wolf operates outside the observable structure of a group, not because he wants to but because his peculiar psychology makes it impossible for him to fit in anywhere. He adopts a hate-filled ideology as a life companion instead of other people, and he becomes its deadly advocate. Although he has no connection to his victims – has never even met them – he sees them as representing a threat to him and his ideology.” (pp. 275-276) Interestingly, the Lone Wolf, according to Dr. Puckett, will rarely commit suicide at the conclusion of his murderous rampage, because the aftermath in the form of a trial and imprisonment will enable him to continue his extremist ideological struggle. (p. 241)

Ronald J. Kendall, Steven M. Presley, and Seshadri S. Ramkumar, editors, New Developments in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2016), 185 pp., US $152.96 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-4987-4756-1.

The contributors to this authoritative science-based textbook examine the threat of chemical and biological terrorism and the countermeasures that are required in response. The volume’s chapters discuss topics such as the state of the science, challenges in predicting the risk of vector-borne diseases, the pathogenic and toxic threats, effects and vulnerabilities associated with biological agents, the threats posed by ricin and palliative responses, countermeasures against cholera toxin, and conclusions and an agenda for future research. As a textbook, each chapter consists of a table of contents, an introduction, numbered sections, suggestions for additional research, and a listing of references.

Barak Mendelsohn, The Al-Qaeda Franchise: The Expansion of al-Qaeda and Its Consequences (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp., US $99.00 [Hardcover], US $27.95–[Paperback], ISBN: 978-0-19-020561-4.

This is a largely theoretical account of the impact and consequences of al Qaida’ organizational strategy to expand through branching out, absorption of other like-minded groups, unification of multiple groups under its rubric, or serving as an umbrella group to oversee the operations of its like-minded counterparts. One of the problems this reviewer encountered in reading this book is the author’s tendency to confuse a reader with pretentious sentences such as the following: “With this book, I seek to elevate the discussion about the al-Qaeda threat through problematizing the group’s expansion. A first step is to acknowledge that the organization’s branching out is a puzzling development…” (p. 3) In this case, isn’t it an academic writer’s duty to “explain” rather than to “problematize” an issue? Moreover, is the decision-making behind al Qaida “Central’s” branching out strategy really that “puzzling” to any veteran al-Qaida observer? In an example of how this book is more “academic” than “practitioner” based, the author writes that “The organization’s inflated self-image required it to stay in the news and prove its relevance; when aggressive counterterrorism measures hindered its ability to operate, organizational expansion became an attractive alternative.” (p. 17) Firstly, don’t all terrorist groups engage in “inflated self-image”, and secondly, what does the author imply by “aggressive counterterrorism?” Wouldn’t a clearer description be “effective counterterrorism”? In any case, if “aggressive counterterrorism” had been truly successful, then al Qaida would not have been able to expand to other regions beyond its safe haven in Pakistan in the first place. In another questionable and dubious assertion, the author writes that al Qaida “has also benefited from ISIS’s extremism, which has made al-Qaeda appear moderate and almost reasonable in comparison.” (p. 212) In conclusion, this is an interesting and important topic for a study, but readers will benefit from other books that are more clearly written and are the products of better analysis. The author is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Haverford College, in Pennsylvania.

Benoit Gomis, Counter Terrorism: Reassessing the Policy Response (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2016), 241 pp., US $69.95 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-4822-3715-3.

This book is an argument for a reform of current counterterrorism policies to make them “more proportionate, evidence-based, and accountable responses, not only from governments but also from the media and analysts.” (p. xviii) Although the author explains that counterterrorism policies differ from one country to another, he finds that Western countries, in particular, tend to engage in “threat inflation and overreaction.” (p. xx) As part of its corrective prescription, the book is divided into three sections: defining what the authors considers to be the actual threat of terrorism, pointing out the “dangers of overreaction” to the risk of terrorism and its negative consequences, and “rethinking the policy response” towards a “more measured and comprehensive response.” (p. xx) To accomplish these objectives, the book’s chapters cover topics such as the legal and academic definitions of terrorism; why the terrorist threat matters (including overviews of terrorist groups such as al Qaida, the Islamic State, and lone wolves); terrorism as a multifaceted problem since it has narco-trafficking and cyber warfare components; how the terrorist threat has been “overestimated” in the cases of the United Kingdom and France; how the overreaction to terrorism in cases such as China, Russia, and the Arab Spring has led to negative consequences by exacerbating the threat; how the terrorist threat has been used by government officials as a “political veil” for other purposes, including infringing on citizens’ privacy; and the components of a more effective policy response. The book is well-organized and well-written, but at times the author tends to make blanket claims that do not stand the test of time. For example, in his discussion of the threat presented by the return of Western foreign fighters in Syria to their home countries, Mr. Gomis downplays the prospect that “these individuals would launch terrorist attacks in their home countries – is not only the most alarming one but also the least likely” (p. 133) – an assertion belied by recent major attacks and thwarted plots by such returnees in Paris and Brussels. He also dismisses the possibility of cyber terrorism as “a very marginal threat.” (p. 104) On other issues, the author is correct, such as his observation that “most terrorist attacks occur in countries with poor governance, authoritarian regimes, few opportunities for political engagement, high levels of discrimination, a struggling economy, and social inequalities.” (p. 187) Finally, while some of Mr. Gomis’ arguments can be considered one-sided, he still raises important issues that need to be discussed in the formulation of effective counterterrorism campaigns. The author is an associate fellow at Chatham House and at the time this book was written he was a Visiting Scholar at the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS), based at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada.

John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart, Chasing Ghosts: The Policing of Terrorism (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2016), 408 pp., US $29.95 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-0-19-023731-8.

This is an account of the effectiveness of the U.S. government’s counterterrorism policies and activities since 9/11, as implemented by agencies such as the FBI, the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Homeland Security, and local policing agencies, such as the New York Police Department (NYPD). The author’s central argument is that the U.S. government’s counterterrorism efforts boil down to “ghost-chasing,” which has become “an expensive, exhausting bewildering, chaotic, and…paranoia-inducing process,” (p. 2) particularly given what they claim is a much reduced terrorist threat level facing the United States. While one may disagree with their diagnosis of the threat level – their manuscript was completed prior to the December 2015 San Bernardino, California, murderous rampage by the ISIS-inspired husband-and-wife terrorists and the recent ISIS-related attacks in Paris and Brussels – readers will find the authors’ analytical approach highly useful. To answer the question of “How much terrorist destruction must these [governmental] expenditures have waylaid in order to justify the outlays?” (p. 134), the authors present a cost-benefit and risk-analytic methodology based on “the cost per saved life, acceptable risk, and cost-benefit analysis” (p. 134) which they apply to assess the effectiveness of the U.S. government’s counterterrorism departments and agencies, including, at the local level, law enforcement bodies such as the NYPD. Dr. Mueller is a political scientist at Ohio State University, and Dr. Stewart is professor of civil engineering at The University of Newcastle, Australia.

Edgar B. Tembo, US – UK Counter-Terrorism After 9/11 (New York, NY: Routledge, 2014), 168 pp., US $155.00 [Hardcover], US $48.95 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-138-94022-2.

This volume applies a qualitative analysis to assess the nature and effectiveness of the post-9/11 counter-terrorism strategies undertaken by the United Kingdom and the United States along three policy instruments: intelligence, law enforcement and the use of military force. With the author’s timeframe the period from 2001 to 2011, this account misses the escalation in the terrorist threats facing the two countries – along with their Canadian and European allies – particularly in the 2015-early 2016 period, so its findings, for instance, that “there has not been a major terrorist attack” against both countries (p. 124), are not up-to-date, but the methodology employed provides a useful conceptual framework for understanding the policy instruments that need to be assessed in evaluating the effectiveness of these countries’ counter-terrorism campaigns. The author is a Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, UK.

Robert Mandel, Coercing Compliance: State-Initiated Brute Force in Today’s World (Stanford, CA: Stanford Security Studies/Stanford University Press, 2015), 320 pp., US $95.00 [Hardcover], US $29.95 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-0-8047-9398-8.

This is a well-analyzed account of state-initiated internal and external application of the use of “brute force” to coerce compliance against a threatening adversary. The author defines brute force as the “direct application of physical strength – in contentious confrontations, not the use of coercive diplomacy, threats and ultimatums, economic sanctions, or shows of force.” (p. 4) Moreover, this analysis “emphasizes the broad strategic context for force use, not specific tactics or training and morale methods.” (p. 4) Following an introductory conceptual framework, the author discusses some of the conundrums involved in a democratic government’s use of brute force, such as a potential clash with democratic values in the case of targeted assassinations. The author then applies his conceptual framework to a series of case studies, with external uses of brute force including the American drone campaign in Pakistan and Yemen, the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the targeted assassination of Usama bin Laden, the French intervention of Mali, and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Cases of state internal use of brute force include repressions of dissidents by the governments in Bahrain, China, Egypt, Greece, India (in the Kashmir region), Myanmar, and Sudan, Syria and Thailand. In the chapter on “Brute Force Security Impact Patterns,” the author identifies the conditions for measuring their effectiveness, including the risks of possible negative military, political, economic, and social consequences from “state overreliance or underreliance on brute force.” (p. 178) The concluding chapter presents the author’s policy recommendations for effective use of brute force, based on a calculus “involving the right combination of force initiator and force target attributes giving brute force precisely the kind of unique comparative advantage to accomplish the designated mission – often in combination with other policy tools – under appropriate circumstances.” (p. 232) The author is Chair and Professor in the International Affairs Department of Lewis & Clark College, in Portland, Oregon.

Nicholas Ryder, The Financial War on Terrorism: A Review of Counter-Terrorist Financing Strategies Since 2001 (New York, NY: Routledge, 2015), 210 pp., US $145.00 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-0-415-64038-1.

This is an authoritative comparative legal examination of the nature and effectiveness of the measures implemented globally within the context of the ‘Financial War on Terrorism’ since the attacks of 9/11. Specifically, the volume’s chapters discuss the measures introduced by multilateral organizations such as the United Nations (including the U.N. sanctions against terrorists and the operations of its anti-terrorist sanctions committee), the European Union and the Council of Europe, as well as the governments of the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Also discussed is a working definition of the ‘Financial War on Terrorism,’ and how the ‘Financial War on Terrorism’ has addressed the new threats presented by jihadist terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, Islamic State, and al Qaida. The author concludes that “it has proven extremely difficult for the international community and nation states to limit the sources of funding available to terrorists” because they “are able to manipulate an increasing array of sources of financing through a vast amount of legitimate and illicit financial channels.” (p. 182) The author is a professor of Financial Crime at the University of West England, Bristol, UK.

Brigitte L. Nacos, Mass-Mediated Terrorism: Mainstream and Digital Media in Terrorism and Counterterrorism [Third Edition] (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), 286 pp., US $90.00 [Hardcover], US $35.00 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-4422-4761-1.

This is an in-depth account of how terrorists exploit a country’s mass media to generate attention for their cause through their violent attacks, as well as how they use social media to communicate directly with their targeted audiences for propaganda, radicalization, and recruitment purposes. Following a discussion of how to define terrorism (whether as state terror or non-state terrorism), and the nature of terrorism in the 21st century, the author proceeds to define mass-mediated terrorism which “conveys the centrality of communication via all kinds of mass media in the calculus of terrorism on the one hand and media gatekeepers’ preference for shocking violence on the other hand. The idea here is that most terrorists calculate the consequences of their carefully planned strikes and assume that they are very likely to gain access to what I call the triangle of political communication.” (pp. 31-32) What makes this textbook especially useful is the author’s application of these concepts to actual cases, such as how the news media reported the 9/11 terrorist attacks and following anthrax letter attacks (with numerous recent attacks also discussed), as well as how the news media reports on a country’s counterterrorism (CT) campaign, and the impact of media reporting of such events and response measures in shaping a country’s public opinion about the magnitude of the terrorism threat. Also valuable is the author’s discussion of a blueprint for effective public information and media relations during terrorist crises. The author is a veteran academic in terrorism studies and serves as adjunct professor of political science at Columbia University, in New York.

Peter Nesser, Islamist Terrorism in Europe: A History (New York, NY: Oxford University Press/London, UK: Hurst Publishers, 2016), 288 pp., US $29.95 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-0-19-026402-4.

This is an authoritative and interesting account of the history of jihadi terrorism in Europe from the Air France airliner hijacking by the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in December 1994 to the attacks by IS adherents against the offices of Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. As the author explains, the book “aims to explain why these terrorist plots happened when they did and where they did, and to shed light on what goes on inside European jihadi networks more generally.” (p. 1) It also seeks “to demonstrate how jihadi terrorism in Europe emerged through an intricate interplay between foreign and European factors, between top-down and bottom-up processes of radicalization, and between social and ideological motivations.” (p. 1) One of the book’s innovations is the author’s formulation of a typology of jihadi terrorists in Europe, which he distinguishes between “the entrepreneur,” “the protégé,” “the misfit,” and “the drifter.” Such a typology is important, the author explains, because “Each type radicalizes and joins cells differently and plays different roles; they fulfill different functions and influence the behavior of cells in different ways.” (p. 12) This conceptual framework is then applied to the book’s chapters, which cover different phases in the evolution of jihadi terrorism in Europe from what the author terms the “Algerian Factor” (1994-2000); the “Global Jihad in Europe” (2000-2004), which had dual ties to al Qaida and Afghanistan and terrorist groups in the Middle East and North Africa; the “Iraq Effect” (2003-2005), which were expressed by the March 2004 Madrid attacks; the “Pakistan Axis” (2004-2006), as expressed by the London transport bombings in July 2005; the “Northern Front” (2005-2008), in which the jihadi terrorist cells increasingly targeted the UK and Scandinavia; “Decentralization” (2008-2010), in which, due to increasing pressure on al Qaida “Central,” lone actor terrorism became prevalent; and the final phase, the “Heterogeneous Threat” (2011-2015), which resulted from the cascading effects of the Arab Spring and the rise of the Islamic State. In conclusion, one may disagree with the author’s finding that “the European jihadi phenomenon is driven forward by tight-knit networks of individuals motivated mostly by wars in the Muslim world,” with “societal explanations [having] less impact,” (p. 295) since many of these jihadi terrorists have trouble integrating into and succeeding in Western societies, which forms a crucial component in their radicalization process. The author, however, is insightful when he points out that “cells rarely emerge in the absence of entrepreneurs” which is significant for counterterrorism because altogether “”Extremists need to be monitored very closely to spot suspicious constellations of entrepreneurs, proteges, misfits, and drifters that could be a cell in the making.” (p. 295) The author is a senior research fellow with the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), in Oslo, Norway.

Peter J. Phillips, The Economics of Terrorism (New York, NY: Routledge, 2016), 196 pp., US $160.00 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-138-12191-1.

This is an application of economic analysis to explain the ‘brutal purposefulness’ of terrorists’ behaviors, choices and strategies. The volume’s chapters apply economic analysis in the form of expected utility theory, which is “complemented by ‘behavioral’ approaches to the determination of preference orderings for risky prospects” (p. 3) to examine terrorism perpetrated by individuals, the emergence of the Islamic State (IS), financing terrorism, how terrorists’ select their attack methods, the geographical locations and timeframes for terrorist attacks, and the role of females in terrorism. One of the author’s conclusions is that “A terrorist group cannot survive without terrorism. It is logical, I think, to expect those groups that survive the longest to be those that have maintained or increased their share of inflicted brutality during their lifetimes.” (p. 185) Interestingly, the author adds that “When brutality is very high, a terrorist group must be more brutal in order to survive. When brutality is low, a terrorist group may be less brutal yet still survive as a terrorist group.” (p. 185). The author is Associate Professor (Finance) at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

Paul Shemella, editor, Global Responses to Maritime Violence: Cooperation and Collective Action (Stanford, CA: Stanford Security Studies/An Imprint of Stanford University Press, 2016), 344 pp., US $90.00 [Hardcover], US $27.95 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-0-8047-9841-9.

The contributors to this edited volume examine the components of maritime security such as terrorism, piracy, armed robbery at sea, illegal maritime trafficking, illegal fishing and other types of maritime crimes. Following the editor’s introductory overview, the volume is divided into three parts. The first part, “Examining Maritime Violence,” discusses maritime terrorism as an evolving threat, terrorist targeting in the maritime environment, and the armed groups that engage in maritime crime. The second part, “Riding the Storm,” presents the components of port security, strategies to counter maritime violence, assessing the components of a security regime, including its legal framework, and the measures involved in managing violent maritime incidents. The third part, “Case Studies,” examines maritime violence, whether terrorism or piracy, in the cases of Sri Lanka (in countering the LTTE), the Strait of Malacca, the Sulu Sea, the Gulf of Guinea, and Yemen. In the concluding chapter, the volume’s editor writes that because “economic insecurity is a common root cause of most maritime violence” an effective security regime is based on upgrading the two pillars of “governance and capacity.” (pp. 298-299)

Brian Glyn Williams, The Crimean Tatars: From Soviet Genocide to Putin’s Conquest (New York, NY: Oxford University Press/London, UK: Hurst Publishers, 2016), 240 pp., US $34.95 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-019-049470-4.

This is a comprehensive and sweeping account of the origins and evolution of the Crimean Tatars changing relationship with their Vatan (homeland), leading up to their current conflict with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. This account is of particular interest to terrorism studies because, as the author explains, it is a “case study in the durability of the political phenomenon of mass-based ethno-nationalism. Such an analysis can also provide considerable insight into the ways in which diasporic national movements can unify and politically mobilize even small, fragmented ethnic groups.” (p. 118) The author is Professor of Islamic History at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Brian Glyn Williams, Inferno in Chechnya: The Russian-Chechen Wars, the Al Qaeda Myth, and the Boston Marathon Bombings (Lebanon, NH: ForeEdge/An Imprint of University Press of New England, 2015), pp., US $29.95 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-61168-737-8.

In this comprehensive account of the history and current developments in Chechnya, the author, a prominent expert on Chechnya, begins with the tsarist conquest of Chechnya and concludes with the major Russian-Chechen wars which were fought in the 1990s, which resulted in the rise of the Chechen terror campaign against Russia – one of Europe’s most lethal homegrown terrorist network. The book’s last two chapters are of particular interest as they discuss the author’s findings about the links between the Chechen terrorist network and al Qaida’s forces in Afghanistan, especially in the aftermath of 9/11 – which he describes as basically nonexistent (p. 221), as well as the presence of Chechen Jihadi fighters in Syria – which he estimates as around 200 (based on BBC claims), with around half coming from the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia and “many others coming from the refugee diaspora of as many as 190,000 Chechens found in Europe, and of curse some from Chechnya itself.” (p. 229) The concluding chapter, “The Strange Saga of the Boston Marathon Bombers,” discusses the radicalization of the Tsarnaev brothers into becoming Jihadi terrorists, as well as whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder brother, had been radicalized and recruited into becoming a terrorist during his 6-month visit to Dagestan in 2012, with the author finding that it likely had not occurred during that period, with Tamerlan already becoming radicalized prior to the visit, with his terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon in mid-April 2013 an example of a “vicarious” connection to al Qaida “via the Internet (and via a fellow radicalized American named Anwar al-Awlaki).” (p. 256) The author is Professor of Islamic History at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, where the younger Tsarnaev brother, Dzokhar, was enrolled as an undergraduate student.

About the Reviewer: Dr. Joshua Sinai is the Book Reviews Editor of ‘Perspectives on Terrorism’. He can be reached at: [email protected].

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

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