- Series: Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare
- Paperback: 456 pages
- Publisher: Columbia University Press; Revised & enlarged edition (June 6, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0231126999
- ISBN-13: 978-0231126991
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 79 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Inside Terrorism (Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare) Revised & enlarged Edition
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The word "terrorism" first became popular during the French Revolution, when the régime de la terreur was initially viewed as a positive political system that used fear to remind citizens of the necessity of virtue. The use of violence to "educate" people about ideological issues has continued, but it has taken on decidedly negative connotations--and has become predominantly, though not exclusively, a tactic deployed by those who do not have the powers of state at their disposal.
Bruce Hoffman, the director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, has written a clear summary of some of the major historical trends in international terrorism. He makes careful distinctions between the motivations that drive political (or ethno-nationalist) terrorism and religious terrorism, and he also shows why the rise of religious terrorism, coupled with the increased availability of weapons of mass destruction, may foretell an era of even greater violence. In the past, Hoffman argues, the main goal of the terrorist was not to kill, but to attract media attention to his cause in the hope of initiating reform. "For the religious terrorist," however, "violence is first and foremost a sacramental act or divine duty executed in direct response to some theological demand or imperative ... religious terrorists see themselves not as components of a system worth preserving but as 'outsiders,' seeking fundamental changes in the existing order." Hoffman does not "choose sides" in this framework, pointing to the bombings of the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City and to the sarin nerve gas attacks in Tokyo in order to demonstrate that fundamentalists of any religious denomination are capable of extreme acts of terrorism. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
For its historical and political examination of terrorism, Inside Terrorism is a valuable work.... It falls into the category of 'must read' at least for anyone who wants to understand how we can respond to international acts of terror. (Raymond Bonner New York Times Book Review)
A revised and expanded edition of the RAND scholar's classic work. (Atlantic Monthly)
Hoffman's more rigorous appraisal, ought to be required reading as the rhetoric mounts this campaign season. (Aziz Huq American Prospect)
A must read to all academics or practitioners who are dealing with the issue of terrorism. (mindef.gov.sg)
Brilliant... The best one-volume introduction to the phenomenon. (The Washington Post)
Any collection strong in terrorist literature and military history will find Hoffman's analysis of ongoing importance. (Bookwatch)
One of the best primers on the subject. (Washingtonian)
The most widely read book on terrorism [Its] comprehensiveness will greatly benefit its readers. (Joshua Sinai The Washington Times)
One of the Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International's 25 Top Books for Today's Bookshelf on Terrorism. (Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security International)
A classic introduction to the subject. (Speakeasy, The Wall Street Journal)
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Hoffman lays out the nuts and bolts of terrorism in a very clean and straightforward way at least as much as possible when terrorism is concerned. He tries to give the reader a panoramic view of how terrorism has evolved over time from the old models of terrorism to so called new models and how new terrorism has built off old terrorism. You can read it as an entire book or just an individual chapter if you’re interested in a particular topic such as how communication by terrorist organizations has evolved over time. I was very impressed at how he was able to make an informative and yet readable book on a complex topic.
This book by Bruce Hoffman in cooperation with the Rand Corporation was published in 1998 and remains one of the best books available on the nature of terrorism. Hoffman provides a useful and on the whole an accurate explanation of the differences between secular, religious, transnational, and state sponsored terrorism providing useful examples of each. He also provides a good deal of probably accurate information on terrorist motivations and operational procedures. Finally he was prescient enough to recognize that the phenomenon represented by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda represent an ideological movement rather than a structured organization. After four years of the so-called, `Global War on Terrorism' this fact is slowly sinking into U.S. Government circles. Hoffman only lightly touches on the related issue of the al Qaeda financial structures, but notes the relatively small amounts of money actually required for most terrorist operations.
As indicated Hoffman does not limit this book to Islamic religious terrorism but also delves into motivations and operations techniques of secular terrorism as well. Perhaps most importantly given the July 2006 Near-East crisis, he uses Hezbollah as an example of the dangerous nature of state sponsored terrorism. All in all a sound book that contains markedly better information on terrorism than many more recent books and reflects the fruits of sound scholarship.