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Terrorism and Democracy Hardcover – June 25, 1991

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The former director of the CIA (1977-1981) takes a look at presidential responses to terrorism, especially Jimmy Carter's handling of the 1979-1980 Iran hostage crisis. The widespread belief that America does not make deals for hostages is shown to be false, as Turner recounts the experiences of five previous chief executives (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon) who confronted hostage crises. The author offers an insider's view of the Carter administration's 444-day duel with the Khomeini regime, including a fresh take on top-level discussions during the crisis, and provides a handy assessment of options available for dealing with terrorists. The book reveals how unprepared the U.S. is to meet this burgeoning threat, especially two untested situations: widespread terrorism at home and nuclear terrorism. Turner stresses the importance of international cooperation, especially with the Soviets, against all forms of terrorism.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Turner, a distinguished public servant and former director of the CIA, grapples with the inherent conflict between democracy and oppression and documents how U.S. presidents have almost always made deals with terrorists. From George Washington (with the Barbary Coast pirates) to Ronald Reagan (Iran-Contra), Turner argues that seven U.S. presidents made similar choices when faced with the dilemma. Drawing on his own Iran hostage crisis experience, Turner illustrates the intractable problems that face democracies in responding to terrorism. Pragmatic in his approach, Turner cautions readers that the U.S. government may have little choice other than to deal with unsavory characters. He prefers the legal option--sanctions, international tribunals, etc.--to punitive military attacks because of its compatibility with American social values. An important contribution. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/91.
- Joseph A. Kechichian, RAND Corp., Santa Monica, Cal.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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