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The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction | [Walter Laqueur]

The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction

Though this book was written before September 11, 2001, it provides prescient insight into the forms of terrorism we are experiencing today. Beginning with a history of terrorism, Laqueur charts a trend: whereas the old kind of terrorist wanted to extract concessions, new terrorists just want to damage as much as possible. Needless to say, we have seen just this in our current affairs.
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Publisher's Summary

Though this book was written before September 11, 2001, it provides prescient insight into the forms of terrorism we are experiencing today. Beginning with a history of terrorism, Laqueur charts a trend: whereas the old kind of terrorist wanted to extract concessions, new terrorists just want to damage as much as possible. Needless to say, we have seen just this in our current affairs. Laqueur goes on to prophesy the damage that can be caused when chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons of mass destruction fall into terrorist hands, and brings up the very real prospect of cyberterrorism. This book is essential for understanding our current predicament and for coming to grips with the uncertain future.

©1999 Walter Laqueur; (P)2001 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The New Terrorism would serve admirably as a first-rate textbook on the subject." (The Los Angeles Times Book Review)
"A handy integration of the background and present face of the terrorist phenomenon." (Booklist)

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    Phebe Joppa, MD, United States 08-18-13
    Phebe Joppa, MD, United States 08-18-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A good place to start learning about terrorism"

    This is a thought-provoking book on a number of levels. An obvious one is that Walter Laqueur wrote it shortly before the 9/11 attack on New York and the Pentagon. That subsequent attack justifies many of his conclusions, as well as his close attention to the first attempt on the World Trade Towers, mentioned repeatedly.

    Another issue is the author's inclusion of more violence he defines as terrorism than I had understood as terrorism when I started the book. He includes state-sponsored terrorism, proxy terrorism, organized crime terrorism, and insanity-driven terrorism, among several other types.

    I like Laqueur's repeated emphasis on the certainty of change in the world. Things will not stay the same as they are now: we can depend on that. I was particularly interested in the "why" of killing lots of civilians; this being perhaps the reason many look into the topic of terrorism now. The author offers a menu of reasons, including political, in that terrorists may be trying to effect a change; but the really interesting reason, to me, is that many terrorists may simply want to kill as many people as they can who are not like themselves, and this may be a genetically based urge that also underlies war.

    The reading is excellent and the book is quite easy to follow as an audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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