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Death Orders: The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in Revolutionary Russia (Praeger Security International) Hardcover – May 20, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0275997526 ISBN-10: 0275997529

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Death Orders: The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in Revolutionary Russia (Praeger Security International) + Gulag Boss: A Soviet Memoir + A History of Russia since 1855 - Volume 2
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Product Details

  • Series: Praeger Security International
  • Hardcover: 229 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (May 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275997529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275997526
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,229,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

• Is the first book to seek to establish a typology of terrorist activity over the past 100 years based on a one-country model, analyzed as a representative case study

• Shows that terrorists' motives are not always consistent with their political ideologies and that the one thing all modern terrorists seem to have in common is a love of death

• Features a unique intercultural and interdisciplinary psycho-historical approach to the understanding of modern terrorism

• Examines precedents comparatively, allowing for the first scholarly speculation about patterns of terrorists' behavior as state leaders



• Offers data based on extensive archival and primary research

• Includes citations from numerous original sources found in Russian, American, European, and Israeli depositories

• Provides a comprehensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources



"…a striking counterweight to today's dominant scholarly understanding of terrorism as a rational act. Her argument is exhaustively documented, and Geifman writes with clarity and verve…"

-

Choice

Review

"This is a wide-ranging insight into terrorism, the bane of modern life. It analyzes the psychology of terrorists in Russia, where this scourge began, as well as Palestine, Chechnia and elsewhere to bring out the common mind-sets of people perpetrating this kind of criminal activity. As such it is of great value to anyone concerned with the massive and often indiscriminate assaults on human life that have become a feature of modern life."

(

Richard Pipes, Baird Professor of History, Harvard University

)

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Customer Reviews

The book deals with terrorism , and provides an astute explanation for its source.
Constantine Lerner
This should be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand today's geo-political challenges, uninfluenced by the opium of political correctness.
Dr. Jeffrey R. Woolf
They are prisoners who are eternally doomed to sink even deeper into it's coils - and whose every future move will reflect it's evil dictates .
Mark Sopher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jesse W. Collins on December 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nobody. I mean NOBODY touches this woman's work on terrorism!

Aside from the entire book's being extraordinarily well developed, chapter 7 details the systemic or socio-cultural hysterical intellectual response to trauma created by terrorism better than any writer to date that I've had the good fortune to read. I have been a researcher, writer and manager in the field of trauma for thirty-five years. Death Orders is an interpretive must for those considering themselves terrorism experts, or better yet leaders and other managers of consensually run populations.

Magnificent scholarly work that throws the widest intellectual loop around the thoughts, mind constructs, ideologies, factual histories, epistemologies and methodologies of the predator class! Thanks, Dr. Geifman, for giving it to us.

Jesse W. Collins II
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This study reveals the close correspondences between terrorism in Tsarist Russia in the early 20th century and the contemporary Jihad. The author takes a psycho-historical approach to the phenomenon to demonstrate how the violence in Russia serves as a blueprint for contemporary terror. From 1901 to 1917 more than 20,000 terrorist acts resulted in about 17,000 wounded or dead in Russia. Starting out as targeted assassinations, these killings by a wide array of anarchists and radical socialists soon became indiscriminate. The value of human life evaporated.

Applying Robert Lifton's paradigm of dislocation, Geifman shows that the whole framework of values, meanings, standards and ties that maintain cultural and psychosocial cohesion collapsed in late Tsarist Russia. All cultures are however, vulnerable to such dislocation which is a precondition for terrorism. Alienated from their roots, Islamic terrorists attempt to annihilate the world in which they feel displaced.

A startling revelation is that the stated ideology, political motive or dogma is not the driving force - death worship is. The killers were attracted to a bewildering array of political cults, some of which openly declared that murder was more important than ideology. Geifman also casts light on the reason why revolutions devour their children. Should the murderers gain power as the Bolsheviks did in Russia in 1917, a terror state is the result and the killing proceeds on a much larger scale.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Jeffrey R. Woolf on August 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Anna Geifman presents the reader with a thought provoking, cogent, gripping and sobering analysis of contemporary Islamic terrorism. A world famous expert in pre-Revolutionary Russian Terrorism, Geifman demonstrates the striking phenomenological similarities (verging on identity) between the terrorists of that by-gone era and the scourge of contemporary Islamic jihadism.

The effort is not only cogent and convincing, it is a courageous tour de force that demands that the reader learn the lessons of history in order to secure the stability and security of today's world. This should be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand today's geo-political challenges, uninfluenced by the opium of political correctness.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eco-capitalist on August 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Death Orders is a fascinating probe of the origins of modern terrorism. Geifman demonstrates that the killers of thousands in pre-Communist Russia and the current wave of extremist Islamic jihadis share basic social and psychological traits. Far from being idealists, these amoral killers are usually losers and rejects from society. They achieve glory in killing by dehumanizing their victims and by fantasizing about a utopian dream--Communist or Sharia nirvana--which justifies any means. The murderers transform themselves from pariahs into saints, not only in their own minds but also in the extremist milieu which nurtures them. Encouraging them from the sidelines are sympathetic fellow travelers who would not carry a gun themselves, but who believe that social injustice justifies extremist acts. Actively participating in the violence are common criminals who realize that the banner of idealism gives them license to rob, rape, torture and kill. When the murderers achieve power, as in Communist Russia, the criminality is magnified by the limitless power of the state to coerce or kill.

Geifman's book unmasks today's suicide bombers and shows us who they really are--pathetic social rejects whose only way of creating meaning in their lives is to destroy others. For example, she tells the sad story of a young Arab girl whose only way to redeem her honor when accused of an illicit love affair is to blow herself up in an Israeli supermarket. Geifman uses piercing anecdotes and quotations to support her ideas. Death Orders is not a dry academic read, but rather a lively expose of the enemies of civilization.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By @ on April 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In a mounting literature on the subject of terror, Anna Geifman's insightful book definitely stands out. Instead of confining herself to the usual economic and political deprivation explanations, Geifman goes much deeper in analyzing the phenomenon of modern terrorism. In an original manner she analyzes fundamentalist terror from the psychological and socio-cultural perspective.
Geifman suggests that the origins of terrorism are to be found in Russia at the height of its industrial revolution. At the time, cultural and psychological alienation plagued the Russian society, destroying traditional values, ways of life, and the very social fabric. The lost souls - former peasants as well as nihilist intellectuals - then found a comfortable refuge in the totalist slogans and radical action that supplied simple and encompassing answers to existential questions.
In my opinion, this approach has great scholarly contribution. It can serve as an excellent explanation to events of the October 1917 revolution and the Russia's civil war. Then, in exactly the same manner but now on a much larger scale, practically the whole Russian society plunged into similar bacchanalia of moral nihilism, violence and self-destruction as the radical few had before.
Moreover, Geifman illustrates her argument with persuasive examples and stories about key characters of the bygone era which serve as connections to present-day terrorism. The book shows that despite ideological differences between Russian anarchists and Islamist Jihadists, there is deeper universality characterizes the phenomenon of fundamentalist terrorism. It is not about the universality of ideology or values but of human nature in crisis. That is what makes Anna Geifman's book not only a valuable contribution to historical research on Russia, but "a must-read" on the subject of terror and radicalism in general.

Yuri Teper, PhD candidate at Bar Ilan University, Israel
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