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"The History of Terorism" From Antiquity To Al Qaeda" offers a clear-eyed, unsentimental and comprehensive look at terrorism. The editors, Gerard Chaliand and Arnaud Blin, are also the major contributors to a series of well-written essays that trace the historical roots and the modern usage of terrorism.

The book is divided into three sections. The first deals with the prehistory of terrorism, especially by small, specialized groups such as the Zealots. The second section covers the period 1789 to 1968, as terrorism came into its own as a tool of radical political movements. The final section, slightly more than half the book, covers the recent uses of terrorism, especially by Islamic radicals including but not limited to al-Qaeda.

The text appears to have been translated from French, which may be the cause of slightly wooden prose in some of the entries. More importantly, this history is not US-centric, which may be a refreshing change for some students in this field. The approach is generally from the theoretical underpinnings of the politics and/or religious motivations of groups practicing terrorism, to the results of their efforts. "A History of Terrorism" is very highly recommended for its comprehensive and unsentimental look at the topic.
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on July 10, 2008
I like this text in that it sets historical and moral context for today's conflicts.
Chaliand and Blin, the editors, lay out the text in chapters on eras and specific conflicts. The text is notable in that it delves into the evolution of the moral debates concerning the targeting of civilians in times of warfare. Few today realize that much of today's terrorism evolved from the guerilla warfare in Occupied Europe of WWII, and the partisan civil conflicts that often followed after Nazi Germany was defeated. The editors draw these connections well, while maintaining a balanced academic-style approach. It is indeed difficult to discuss this field of study without taking sides or pontificating on the morality of "who is a legitimate target." Chailiand and Blin walk this line well.
-CLW
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VINE VOICEon March 19, 2016
The History of Terrorism from Antiquity to Al Qaeda is more like a series of essays that compare and contrast the terrorism of the period in question with past forms of terrorism and what terrorism would be like in the future like how revolutionary terror relates to Al Qaeda for example. Each essay could in theory stand on its own to represent each era of terrorism, but many of these authors go further in that they make the connections between different forms and motivations for terrorism. The reader if they are brave enough to read the entire book receives this all-encompassing picture of terrorism from antiquity to Al Qaeda.

Because terrorism is an evolving phenomenon, the back end of the book could use an update to encompass the late Al Qaeda period and the current threat that the world is confronting in ISIS. But even without this minor change, the authors have hit on certain commonalities of terrorism over time that one can look for as they are examining other groups that form over time.

A great historical resource on terrorism that doesn’t forget the present.
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on October 7, 2012
Chaliand and Blin present a body of work on terrorism history. The prehistory material (e.g., assassins, zealots, etc.) was especially interesting and a subject area that few other terrorism authors cover. I also found it interesting that these editors chose to organize terrorism in a linear fashion (prehistory, 1789 to 1968, and then terrorism after 1968). This is an additional unique characteristic of the book, which makes it simple to find information and draw conclusions as to how terrorism evolves over time. I recommend this book to those interested in terrorism history and evolution, particularly as a primary reference. For me this book serves as an authoritative source from which to draw from, some of which I reference in my book on Terrorist Organizational Behavior (ISBN-13: 978-0615687391). I hope that these editors publish the next edition of this book very soon.
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on September 28, 2011
Kindle edition of this product is great for class. This book reveals a lot of the history behind terrorism, and makes for an amusing read. From classical times to now explore what is terrorism, state and individual, and learn something about how we are at where we are today. History does tend to repeat itself. The author tends to be liberal, but with good reasons. Anyone curious about what is really going with regards to the war on terrorism should give this a once over.
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on May 6, 2013
This book covers the history of terrorism in a concise, practical and though provoking way. It clearly articulates the future of modern terrorism and the prognosis of the future of radical violent terrorist action for regions.
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on May 10, 2015
A fascinating read, but occasionally glosses over things that could use some more detail.
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on May 19, 2015
A great starting point or anyone interested in research into terrorism
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on April 3, 2015
Excellent overview
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on January 11, 2016
Very helpful book
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