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Terrorism without Sentiment...
on November 12, 2009
"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.