- Prime Student members get 10% off Books. Enter code STUDENT10 at checkout. Enter code STUDENT10 at checkout. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)
Does Terrorism Work?: A History Hardcover – 1 Jul 2016
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Thankfully, this is a book awash with historical detail. This detail will force the reader to think more precisely about the circumstances in which terrorists of many types have been able to proclaim successes... English usefully draws attention to the vexed question of victory or what amounts to success in terrorist and counterterrorist campaigns. (Samir Puri (Kings College London), International Affairs Book Reviews)
...his disinterested approach allows the author to avoid the polemicism that clouds many accounts of this question. Indeed, his clear-eyed treatment of a fraught subject is one of the book's principal strengths. (Wall Street Journal)
This book offers a reflective, astute, and deeply knowledgeable historian's answer to the critical question of "does terrorism work". As it brilliantly demonstrates the complexity and contingency of historical processes, the necessity of understanding different contexts, and the varieties of ways in which terrorism can be effective, it adds immense value to the debate. (Martha Crenshaw, Stanford University)
English is a brilliant political historian, with a reputation for measured yet hard-hitting analyses. He possesses a formidable range and depth of knowledge about modern terrorism. Unlike many commentators, his prose is calm; his conclusions sensible. (Joanna Bourke, Prospect)
Absorbing attempt to answer a difficult question: does terrorism work? The author admits some people might struggle with daring even to ask whether terror works. He carefully sets out his criteria... insisting there can be no simple answer given the overwhelming complexities involved. Yet that does not make his work less valid. (Ian Birrell, Observer)
a thought-provoking, scholarly study (Brian Maye, Irish Times)
important (The Commonwealth Lawyer)
A very interesting book. He devotes a chapter each to al-Qaida, the Provisional IRA, Hamas and the Basque separatist group ETA. For each of the four groups, English patiently creates an itemised report card of success, partial success or failure with respect to the groups overall objectives and also its subsidiary instrumental aims. The detailed information is both interesting and valuable, but some broader themes emerge from the details. (Thomas Nagel, London Review of Books)
A valuable resource for scholars ... as English suggests, we need to ask for whom terrorism works, and why. (John Gray, New Statesman)
An impressively detailed analysis of a perpetual problem. Richard English draws on more than thirty years of experience in the field to dissect this timely, if uncomfortable, question. Using four case studies from recent history ... he sets out a rigorous framework to assess how effective each groups activities have been. This comprehensive title doesn't claim to have the answers, but it certainly makes an interesting contribution to the debate. (The Soldier Magazine)
About the Author
Richard English is Professor of Politics at Queen's University Belfast, where he is also Distinguished Professorial Fellow in the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. His books have won numerous awards, and include Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA, Irish Freedom: The History of Nationalism in Ireland, Terrorism: How to Respond, and Modern War: A Very Short Introduction. He is a frequent media commentator on terrorism and political violence, and on Irish politics and history, including work for the BBC, CNN, ITN, SKY NEWS, NPR, RTE, the Irish Times, Times Literary Supplement, Newsweek, Guardian, and Financial Times. He is a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS), an Honorary Fellow of Keble College Oxford, and an Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews.
Customers who bought this item also bought
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
There are literally hundreds of books and far more scholarly articles about terrorism. Definitions are again in the hundreds. What is clear is that all, or most, terrorist acts since 1790 have the following common features: they are violent, they are a psychological tactic to persuade and engender fear, they ignore the rules of war and international law, they are organised, deliberate and systematic, they deliberately choose violence because democratic methods to achieve their aims are either not possible or treated with scorn, and many have a political agenda. I like to liken them to an election. Terrorists use blood and bullets in lieu of votes to achieve their objectives. Like pornography, terrorism is hard to define in simple terms but when you see either you will recognize it.
In his book, 'the Secret Agent' Conrad wrote that for an outrage to have any influence on public opinion it must 'be purely destructive '. Terrorism plays on our sense of vulnerability. The media play into the hands of terrorists by giving their visit activities page and air time. For the terrorist this free publicity is oxygen. He/she thrives on it. Terrorist actions are already crimes under the ordinary law. Definitions tend to based on intentions rather than behaviour. Terror is essentially a tactic intended to threaten the ability of a state to ensure the security of its members, and thus it's claim to legitimacy. Terrorists seek to: seize attention by shock, horror, fear and revulsion.
9/11/2001 demonstrated that the nature and character of terrorism was changing. Terrorists were now emerging who had different rationales and motivations to challenge the conventional wisdom on terrorism. Suicide attacks across the globe show that there isxa growing link between terrorism motivated by religion and much greater levels of lethality. Suicide has become increasingly popular as a strategy and tactic. The internet has enabled terrorists to communicate their barbaric deeds by videotapes, their own television and radio news stations. Hostage taking has provided terrorist groups with millions of dollars. Lurking in the background is the fear of WMD being used or threatened. It is worth remembering that nerve gas has already been used in Tokyo in 1995.
Recent atrocities in France and Germany have led to acts of terrorism being put under the spotlight. The number of casualties resulting from such acts are low relative to battle casualties. However. 9/11 is a major exception. The number killed that day exceeded the number killed in any battle during the US Civil War. The barbarous behaviour of Isis has highlighted a terrorist group that, almost uniquely, has gained and occupied territory. Their recent atrocities may be the result of losses in battles.
English, like some other writers such as Powell, argues that terrorists are rational. Therefore, they are open to negotiation . The IRA naturally is given as an example by both writers. The trouble , of course, is that it is difficult, indeed impossible, to negotiate with someone who doesn't wish to talk. It is true that some terrorists may well be acting rationally but it will be on their terms. Powell, like the author, fails to answer the question how do you conduct a dialogue with the deaf? English gives at times the impression that in every terrorist there is a rather decent guy trying to get out. Having studied and taught the subject I can't agree. These people are not errant criminals who have gone off the tracks, and can be put back on track by counselling. They are fanatical, men and women who deliberately use every kind of death-dealing device to kill children, women and men to gain their ends. Human life means nothing to them, and this includes their own. Terrorists are morally insane. It is this that makes counter-terrorism so very complex and difficult. Terrorists are not the same as a conventional army you are trying to defeat on the battlefield. Sherman's march to the sea used terror tactics but what his army did was not terrorism as such. The strategic bombing offensive over Germany undoubtedly inflicted terror on civilians but again it was not terrorism. Isis claims that its members are soldiers engaged in war. This is nonsense, as indeed was the war on terror speech of President Bush after 9/11.
English examines four case studies: al-Qaeda, the IRA, Hamas, and the Basque Eta separatists, to see if they have proved or are proving successful. It is a strange quest. If a 'lone wolf' bomber, or two as in Boston, kills people then presumably he/she has been successful. English argues that the twin towers outrage was successful because it led to two very expensive and botched invasions. Al-Qaeda he says has changed the world. Really? The problem with the case study approach is two-fold. How typical are they of terrorist tactics, and it leads to ticking boxes. Both inevitability result in dubious judgments.
At times, the style of writing irritates. On finishing the book you learn that some terrorist acts have been successful while others have been a failure. But it depends on how you define 'success'. The author's accountancy approach is of little help in this regard.
Terrorism and its counter are extraordinarily complex issues. In many ways the terrorist has the upper hand, at least initially. How we thwart it is not answered in this book. Counter-terrorist strategies have to be a mix of political, economic, and social measures. Defeating terrorists, like defeating insurgents, is essentially an intelligence and police matter. Those who think you can negotiate with the likes of Isis are in for a very long wait.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com