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Does Terrorism Work?: A History Hardcover – 1 Jul 2016

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (28 July 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199607850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199607853
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 3 x 15.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


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.

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16 September 2016
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
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31 May 2017
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30 July 2016
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Most helpful customer reviews on 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 reviews
John Desmond
3.0 out of 5 starsWorth a read but very PC
15 December 2016 - Published on
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
One person found this helpful.
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