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Death Orders: The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in Revolutionary Russia (Praeger Security International)

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0275997526
ISBN-10: 0275997529
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"…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)

"This highly original, and thoroughly researched, comparative study of modern political terror illuminates the apocalyptic beliefs of its perpetrators and brings together the psychological, cultural and political dimensions of the phenomenon. Focusing on the dislocations of modernity the author provides exceptional insight into the mentality and methodology of 19th century Russians terrorists, present day Islamic suicide bombers and political extremists in general. A unique case study of the connections between the personal and political realm, and the transformation of consuming hatred into potent political energy and action." (Paul Hollander
Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst;
Associate, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University;
Author of Political Pilgrims and The End of Commitment: Intellectuals, Revolutionaries and Political Morality)

"Anna Geifman's most recent book is a must read for anybody seeking to decipher the psyche of today's international terrorists. Approaching the issue from a psychohistorical perspective, Professor Geifman traces the historical ascension of terrorism from 20th Century Russia to modern day Israel, drawing fascinating parallels along the way. Through an in-depth analysis, Professor Geifman shows that the Russian extremists of days past are to a large extent the forefathers of today's Islamic fanatics." (Steven Emerson, Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, author of American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Amongst Us, and producer of the documentary "Jihad in America")

"A vital contribution to the historical, political, philosophical, and psychological understanding of terrorism. Anna Geifman has written an indispensable sequel to the Devils, conceptualizing, updating, and completing Dostoyevsky's prophecy on contemporary nihilism". (Jean-François Colosimo, scholar, writer, Director of CNRS Editions, The publishing house of the French National Center for Scientific Research. Author of Dieu est américain, de la théodémocratie aux Etats-Unis; L'Apocalypse russe, Dieu au pays de Dostoievski; Le Paradoxe persan, un carnet iranien. Jean- François Colosimo has been made "Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur" by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008.)
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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: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,415,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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