"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)
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.