Reviewed by Deb Shunamon for Reader Views (3/07)
It is difficult to listen to newscasts these days without hearing about suicide bomber attacks. When successful, the death toll can involve only the bomber himself, or herself, or it can involve up to hundreds of civilian and military victims. The number of attacks in conflicts around the world has been steadily rising, and so to has the use of women to carry out these bombings. In "Female Suicide Bombers," Rosemarie Skaine attempts to contextualize the lives of women who became bombers, and points out that our deficient Western perception of women as fighters in any war hinders our ability to protect ourselves from lethal attacks in the future.
While the Preface gives the Reader the impression that the pages will be filled with sociological theories and discussions that only a university student could follow, the book is actually very understandable. In general, the information is given in short, to-the-point sentences and chapters, but by the final Analysis, the writing becomes more animated and the author dives in with opinions and conclusions of her own. Her research is extensive, with numerous sources from around the world utilized to discuss terminology; the relationship between the female bombers and the organizations they represented, and the societies in which they lived; as well as the many views on the capabilities of women as deadly fighters. Government strategies to combat terrorism are also commented on, such as monitoring money trails, but the author's primary concern is that the United States does not recognize that it may very well be a female combatant who will attempt any future, large scale attack such as 9/11.
When details on female bombers are available the author lists them, but there is often little known about the women who became martyrs for their causes. Along with her good explanation of the present day organizations they belonged to (and the acronyms the media constantly refers to them by), Rosemarie Skaine cleared up a lot of confusion I had about the politics of present and past conflicts, provided a greater understanding as to the choices available to women in some war-torn societies, and put a human face to many of the shocking news stories I have heard. I learned a lot from this book, and for readers interested in the topics of global terrorism, present day warfare, or feminism from a military standpoint, "Female Suicide Bombers" is definitely an informative book to read.
Received book free of charge.