***** The Counterterrorism Handbook: Tactics, Procedures, and Techniques. By Franz Bolz, Jr.; Kenneth Dudonis; and David Schulz. CRC Press, www.crcpress.com; 529 pages; $89.95.
When reaching for a volume named The Counterterrorism Handbook, you have to be prepared with a grain of salt. The cover art of a burning car, Dutch soldiers assaulting a bus, a pipe bomb with a cellphone taped to it, and a balaclava-clad person on a laptop (because terrorists use balaclavas even while checking their e-mail, right) also triggers memories of the “don’t judge a book by its cover” expression. However, once you begin turning pages in the volume, you are impressed enough to keep reading.
Experts cover the topic in 18 essays. These essays first introduce you to an overview of global terrorism, its common elements, and methods. With this background, practical sections on terror defense, hostage situations, and kidnapping provide insight. Several chapters on bomb defense, explosive devices, and bomb searches serve as an excellent primer for any protective forces personnel. There is a particularly eye-opening section on the detailed post-blast investigative process that—using case studies from Oklahoma City, the World Trade Center, the Madrid train attacks, and others—walks the reader through the response to a bombing.
The book overall is well presented with an audience of security and law enforcement professionals in mind. Its point of view is not from a single author, but from a panel of experts, and their specialization shows. While each chapter may not apply to you, enough chapters will resonate to warrant the inclusion of this book in your library.
Reviewer: Christopher Eger is a supervisor for a top-50 homeland security contractor that protects vital federal infrastructure. He has worked in physical security and force protection for 10 years and has written many articles on security and related topics.