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The Infernal Machine: An Alternative History of Terrorism Paperback – 10 Jan 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd (10 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184904080X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849040808
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 876,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Academic criticism of the quasi-field of 'terrorism studies' has been muted. By contrast, journalist Matthew Carr delivers a fierce assault on 'terrorology' the exaggeration of the terrorist threat by governments and supposed experts, long predating 9/11. His view of 'a world tormented by the fantasy of absolute terror and fixated by a futile search for absolute security' may be a bit one-sided, but it makes a vital point.' --Times Higher Education

'Carr's central point is that [politicians'] responses go beyond all sensible assessment of risk and do half the terrorist's job for him. ... I am with Carr in believing that the chief risk today is not of Muslim terrorists undermining western democracy but of the West doing so itself by absurdly overstating that risk.' --Simon Jenkins, Sunday Times

'Carr has a twofold mission. To establish the humanity and sanity of men and women whom governmental and media maledictions have routinely caricatured as evil monsters, and to expose the atrocities and injustices that are perpetrated under the guise of counter-terrorism.' --Michael Burleigh, Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Matthew Carr is a writer, broadcaster, and journalist who has reported on a number of violent conflicts. He is also the author of Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain (Hurst, 2010).


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Format: Paperback
This book is around 400 pages split into 3 parts of a total 12 chapters and epilogue on its chosen subject. It is reasonably well written and though it could have done with a proper editing, often rn is printed as m so stern gang comes out as stem gang. Also one glaring factual error was to call the Irish republican Wolfe Tone a 'seventeenth century Irish revolutionary' when in fact he was alive in the late eighteenth century. That aside much of the research appears to be solid and topical particular in the modern era.

The history is told in roughly chronological order commencing with the story of Russian group's like the People's Will and brief discussion of the origin of the idea of terrorism in modern times. The discussion and history moves on quite briskly to a chapter on anarchists and dynamiters. The narrative is not confined to one country or incident but encompasses a basic theme of describing key incidents of terrorist activity and the counter terrorism response. Various chapters take a theme in and around a certain period like nationalist based terrorists like the IRA in Northern Ireland or ETA in the Basque country of Spain, the urban guerilla groups of Germany and Italy in this period are dealt with separately as are the Palestinian groups and so on. Each section might refer back to another one, there is generally a brief description of a political situation or the circumstances of the terrorist activity with a focus on some key incidents like the kidnap and murder of Italian politician Aldo Moro in the description of the Red Brigades activities or the activities of infamous characters such as Carlos. There is whole separate section devoted to the war on terror and its origins.
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Very accessible, used it extensively for my course in the subject matter. Reads with a vibrant narrative, never dull or academic.
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