The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1442219526
ISBN-10: 1442219521
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Editorial Reviews


Berko, an authority on terrorism and researcher for the National Security Council, explores primarily why and how Palestinian terrorist groups use women. Based on years of interviews with Palestinian leaders, the book attempts to answer the question: are women smart bombs or stupid ones? Mainly, Berko finds, they are desperate ones. Arab cultural attitudes about women directly influence terrorist attitudes toward the use of female suicide bombers. Male handlers often exploit women bombers sexually, and then use that exploitation and associated shame to both motivate and intimidate the women to bomb. Berko further reveals that terrorist leaders use female bombers only reluctantly, and that women bombers actually decrease their standing in Arab society because effective female suicide bombers challenge the cultural norm of male dominance. Female suicide bombers are very effective, Berko concludes, in this fascinating look inside terrorist practices. (Publishers Weekly)

Anat Berko’s highly insightful . . . book focuses on the motivations of Palestinian suicide bombers, especially women and children . . . two groups that are especially exploited in patriarchal Palestinian society. [Berko] has spent many years interviewing Palestinian security prisoners at their Israeli jails, including the operatives (whose suicide missions failed) and their dispatchers. Fluent in Arabic and Arab culture, she was able to speak intimately with the prisoners and gain their trust. Their identities are disguised to elicit the most candid observations and to protect them. . . . [R]eaders nevertheless will benefit from the wealth of personal, cultural and operational details revealed by such firsthand field work. . . . For the light it sheds on Palestinian society and how its most vulnerable are exploited, The Smarter Bomb is highly recommended. A peaceful accommodation between Palestinians and Israelis will not move forward as long as large swaths of Palestinian society are manipulated and directed toward violence. (The Washington Times)

Berko . . . has been given unprecedented access to numerous terrorists and would-be terrorists in the country’s prisons, and she has apparently won their trust. In interview after interview, men and women open up to her and relate the most intimate details about the phenomenon of female suicide attacks against Israel during the second intifada. . . . Berko set out to understand why women became involved in suicide attacks, and also to understand the different terrorist organizations’ viewpoints on using women in their war against Israel. . . . Her book is full of fascinating stories and insights precisely because she lets the people speak for themselves. . . . This remains one of the most interesting studies on terrorism to have been produced in recent years. (The Jerusalem Post)

The book contains a wealth of information, much of it presented as raw data in the form of reports on conversations. Others can benefit from Dr. Berko's valuable work to draw their own conclusions. (Middle East Forum)

Dr. Berko’s chilling analysis of the phenomenon of Palestinian women and children forced by societal factors to become suicide bombers, for lack of any other options, makes for riveting reading. (Dr. Henry A. Kissinger)

Anat Berko reflects a unique combination of both a senior experienced practitioner and an established academic who has provided novel and authentic insights into the world of suicide women and children bombers emanating from the Muslim world. Her narratives and studies illuminate concrete threats that could turn up on the doorstep of every one of us wherever we are, and should be compulsory reading for professionals and the public at large. The fruits of her labor have not only contributed to a better understanding of the issue, but have already become life-saving factors in the constant struggle against terror. (Ephraim Halevy, former head of Mossad)

This book is a remarkable contribution to explaining the unexplainable, to understanding the inexplicable. It takes us to the next level of scholarship about suicide bombers who are not men, but rather are increasingly women and children. Anat Berko helps us to see through their eyes, to think as they think, to feel their hearts beat in their chests as they prepare to push the button. (Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, president emeritus, The George Washington University)

In this fine book, the Israeli forensic specialist Anat Berko focuses on the special psychology of female and adolescent suicide terrorists. She convincingly demonstrates that in a disintegrating society, female Muslims suffer from a double oppression—political and gender. Exposed to the media revolution, they find liberating the role of shaheeda and even the prisons in which Berko met with them. A gifted interviewer, Berko’s book overflows with rich and riveting material. (Jerrold M. Post, The George Washington University; author of The Mind of the Terrorist)

Anat Berko's thrilling research exposes how terror groups exploit women and children to achieve their goals. This is the first attempt of its kind by an Israeli author to explain to the outside world the phenomenon of brainwashing and recruiting women and children. The exclusive interviews with the women, as well as the face-to-face meetings with Hamas and Islamic leaders, offer a unique insight into the world of terrorism. (Khaled Abu Toameh, veteran reporter and commentator on Palestinian affairs and correspondent, The Jerusalem Post)

Anat Berko gets into the mind of the female suicide bomber through direct interviews with those who have been captured. Her work is critical for the war against terrorism, which will only be won if the true motivation of suicide bombers is deciphered, as it is in her book. For this reason, her work is not only fascinating, but it also makes vital reading for anyone seeking to understand the sources of the new terrorism that the world has been facing since 9/11. (Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations)

As terrorists employ increasingly brutal tactics, we must improve our efforts to understand and defeat them. Anat Berko has made a significant contribution toward that end by providing insight into one of the cruelest terrorist attacks—the use of women and children as suicide bombers. (Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel)

About the Author

Anat Berko holds a Ph.D. in criminology and served as lieutenant colonel in the Israeli Defense Forces. She has been a visiting professor at George Washington University and is a member of the Knesset, where she serves on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Product Details

  • File Size: 533 KB
  • Print Length: 213 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1442219521
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (October 16, 2012)
  • Publication Date: December 20, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
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  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,107,648 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By William Garrison Jr. VINE VOICE on February 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers" by Anat Berko (Oct. 2012). Through her interview of many imprisoned Palestinian terrorists, the author provides many informative insights of those who have been imprisoned for engaging in either failed Islamikaze suicide-bomb attempts or knife assaults against Israeli targets since c. 2000. The author is a female Israeli army officer, who with cooperation of Israeli prison authorities, interviewed many imprisoned Palestinians who engaged in violent actions against Israeli soldiers or civilians. Through these interviews over several years the author is able to reveal the motivations of the assailants, as well as explain the thought processes as to how the attackers' recruiters enticed fellow Palestinians to agree to commit various attacks. This book centers on the recruitment and motivations of women and teenagers. The author's findings are similar to those that she found that motivated male assailants in her earlier book: "The Path to Paradise": That potential male martyrs dreamed of entering an Islamic paradise filled with female virgins (houri) who would become their uncomplaining, heavenly sexual-pleasing wives. [Many secularists still refuse to believe this motivation for Islamikazes.] While female martyrs also sought marital bliss in heaven, the author reveals that their primary motivation for martyrdom missions was to escape abusive husbands or other family members. The author found that many of the female martyr wannabes suffered from insecurities in being raised in families whereby the father had died early in a woman's life - thereby depriving them of a protective presence against those who preyed upon vulnerable, impressionable women for suicide-attack missions.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
This book is very well researched. The Author lives in Israel but keeps her emotions out of the writing, and just focuses on interviewing inmates who give light to the issue of the suicide bombing situation. It is a very sad book as you can see how warped the thinking is that leads to blowing up someone, and scary also. I highly recommend reading this book as it provides a tremendous insight into that part of the world.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is the best read for me this year! I love the insight, thoughtfulness employed by Ana Berko in the making of this educative book. My admiration of Anat and her bravery is an understatement, for she is absolutely brilliant! Many thanks to a certain article on Facebook about rogue university students who tried to heckle Anat during her speech, but she nevertheless put them in their place. Otherwise, I would never have known about Anat Berko.
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I had the pleasure of meeting Prof. Anat Berko and reading her books, all of which are a must for people worried about terrorism and culture. She knows what she writes about!
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