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Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism Hardcover – May 24, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (May 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400063175
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400063178
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"'One of the most important books on suicide terrorism.' New York Review of Books" --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Robert A. Pape is associate professor of political science at the University of Chicago, where he teaches international politics and is the director of the Chicago Project on Suicide Terrorism. A distinguished scholar of national security affairs, he writes widely on coercive airpower, economic sanctions, international moral action, and the politics of unipolarity and has taught international relations at Dartmouth College and air strategy for the U.S. Air Force’s School of Advanced Airpower Studies. He is a contributor to The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The New Republic, and The Washington Post and has appeared on ABC’s Nightline and World News Tonight, National Public Radio, and other national television and radio programs.

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Customer Reviews

This is a cursory explanation of the author's ideas that are elucidated in the book.
John K
While Hamas will claim the withdrawal from the Gaza was a victory for their suicide campaign, the objective was limited.
R. Bowden
Robert Pape has written an excellent book that describes the real reason why there is suicide terrorism.
1.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

156 of 185 people found the following review helpful By Sidney Frieden on June 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Pape's book takes a flinty-eyed look at the data and presents us with inarguable conclusions that many readers will not like. (Witness the ideological hatchet job below, masquerading as a reader review.) If you can't make yourself believe that US foreign policy (and the foreign policies of other powerful democracies) might somehow be a contributing factor in the proliferation of suicide bombing campaigns we are witnessing today, then don't bother reading this book. If you have to let yourself believe that Islam is the source of most suicide bombing in the world, even if the data shows that it isn't, then don't waste your time reading this book. But if you're tired of not understanding why hundreds of billions of dollars of military hardware, intelligence infrastructure and foreign aid, and hundreds of thousands of US soldiers posted overseas, seems only to buy us more suicide bombers, then perhaps you'd be interested in a fresh idea why this is the case. You may not like Pape's conclusions. You may not be happy about them. But you can't deny that they are based on the data, and that his analysis of the data is manifestly non-ideological in the best sense of that term. If we are going to win the war on terrorism, we had better be prepared to stop thinking ideologically from time to time, and take a look at the facts.
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140 of 166 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The University of Chicago is an extraordinary institution--the author, employed there, lives up to their reputation for methodical, scholarly, useful reflections grounded firmly in the facts. This work significantly advances our understanding of terrorism and of the three forms of suicidal terrorism: egotistic, altruistic, and fatalistic. The author documents his findings that most suicidal terrorists are altruistic, well-educated, nationalistically-motivated, and fully witting and dedicated to their fatal mission as a service to their community.

Of the 563 books I have reviewed--all in national security and global issues, and all but four among the best books in the field--this new work by Professor Pape stands out as startlingly original, thoughtful, useful, and directly relevant to the clear and present danger facing America: an epidemic of suicidal terrorism spawned by the "virtual colonialism" of the US in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and now Iraq as well as other countries.

I will not repeat the excellent listing of facts in the Book Description provided by the publisher--certainly that description should be read carefully. If you are a Jewish zealot, don't bother, you will not get over the cognitive dissonance. Everyone else, including Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic contributors to Congressional and Presidential campaign funds, absolutely must read this book.

There are many other books that support the author's key premises, all well-documented with case studies and the most complete and compelling statistics--known facts. I am persuaded by the author's big three:

1) Suicidal terrorism correlates best with U.S. military occupation of specific countries that tend to be undemocratic and corrupt, where the U.S.
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151 of 183 people found the following review helpful By John K on June 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This new work by Robert Pape is a long awaited step forward in the understanding of the phenomenon of suicide terrorism that presently faces the Western world. In it, Pape makes his case in a straightforward and airtight argument based on his study of the global experience of suicide terrorism from 1980-2003. And by no means is this any run-of-the-mill examination. It is by far the most comprehensive, thorough, and methodical look at suicide terrorist attacks, the terrorists themselves, the societies that support them, the democracies that bear their cost, and the political circumstances surrounding them.

Pape lays out his ideas in what he terms as the "Nationalism Theory of Suicide Terrorism." One sees, through his analysis, that almost all suicide terrorist attacks since the advent of the tactic have had several similarities. 1) They exist as part of a larger organized campaign 2) they target democracies 3) they seek a strategic political objective (national liberation). This is a cursory explanation of the author's ideas that are elucidated in the book. He then concludes with recommendations stemming from his study's findings.

These ideas are simply novel, well thought-out, and groundbreaking. If they do not find wide acceptance in short order they will certainly be the subject of important debate and any future scholarship will be obliged to address them. The author and all those that worked with him did a great job.

The concluding prescriptions for future foreign policy decisions are quite reasonable and based on sound footing, but, of course, always debatable. Foreign policy has to be one of the most convoluted and difficult issue areas in any field and it is a matter of dire importance because, unlike in domestic policy, you only get one chance.
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36 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Plan to use this to to teach on June 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is the first really good book on suicide terrorism. The book's immense strength is that it is based on the world's only really good database of suicide terrorist attacks, complete through the end of 2003. Neither DOD nor CIA has equally good data, at least not unclassified.

The book is admirably well structured, proceding inexorably from data to theory to conclusions to policy advice. But as another reviewer pointed out, you don't really have to trust the author's conclusions -- the data are all in there, and they speak eloquently by themselves.
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