2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2004
This is an exceptionally well-constructed textbook, effectively combining surveys of both concepts and empirical trends, with numerous well-chosen case studies. It delves beneath the surface by an extensive section early on, highlighting the problems of, and debates around, definition. The various explanations that have been sought for the phenomenon are surveyed fairly briefly but well. Different types of 'terrorism' are then surveyed - including (contrary to many other volumes) state terrorism: this, after all, is what the term terrorism was originally reserved for (even if in more recent times it is states that have appropriated the use of the term to label any of their opponents that are prepared to use violence); the historical examples are well chosen. There are chapters also on 'the tools of the trade', on the role of the media, on terrorism in the US, and on the options for responding to terror. All this is set out in such a way as to be immediately useable in an introductory university course on the subject, with sections at the end of each chapter on 'key terms and concepts', recommended websites, further reading, a 'Discussion Box', and a web exercise. This may not be an original work of scholarship, but it does what it is intended for admirably, and in the process will probably also fill a few gaps here and there in the knowledge of many who thought they knew the subject. Its clear language and organisation mean it is also useful for the general reader, who will get a far more balanced understanding here than in the vast majority of 'terror' books on the market.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2004
To be honest, I was expecting much more out of this book. Rather than an in-depth analysis of the terrorist psyche, counterterrorist and anti-terrorist options, or the underlying problems behind the 'us against them' mentality that pervades, this book is simply a collection of case studies.
Martin gives us page after page of examples of terrorist acts throughout the 2nd half of the 20th century, and repeats basic facts ad nauseum.
The glossary, for example, includes entries for 'Adolf Hitler', 'Mass Communications' and 'Labelling'.
A good introductory book for those who know absolutely nothing about the subject matter, but somewhat useless for those interested in more than a mere scratching of the surface.