THE MAGAZINE

Terrorism: The Present Threat in Context

By Brent J. Lawrence

***** Terrorism: The Present Threat in Context. By Stephen Sloan; published by Berg Publishers, www.bergpublishers.com (Web); 140 pages; $29.95.

Many people talk about terrorism without ever defining the term. This work starts by addressing that basic question and then moves on to the bigger issues.

Author Stephen Sloan begins with a brief chronology of terrorism—including political assassinations—from the First Century to the al Qaeda attacks of this decade. He explains terrorism’s various iterations and goals, perhaps best describing it as a “fear multiplier” that targets not its immediate victims so much as those watching on television screens.

“It is the ‘shelf life’ of the impact that has a profound effect on the individual, the community and the political and social order,” Sloan writes, mapping out six stages of a society’s response to an attack, from panic to acceptance.

At 140 pages, this book could be the foundation on which one’s terrorist education is built, though others exist as well. It could be referred to as a reference manual, somewhat like a dictionary, to give someone new to the topic the tools necessary to understand and further research specific topics.

A list of references includes Web sites and books by other authors to expand your knowledge in specific facets of terrorism. Sloan’s compilation of facts and events is both accurate and to the point, and it is evident that he has spent many years researching and studying the legacy of what makes terrorists tick. The book is easy to read and can, therefore, be enjoyed by the curious newcomer and well-schooled security specialist alike.

Terrorism: The Present Threat in Context should be the first book explored by anyone interested in studying the issue or expanding his or her knowledge of the subject.


Reviewer: Brent J. Lawrence, CPP, is the owner and lead instructor of Defense Training Academy Inc. and has been employed in Law Enforcement for 24 years at the Allen County Sheriff’s Office in Lima, Ohio.

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