THE MAGAZINE

Terrorism Today: The Past, the Players, the Future, Second Edition

By Kevin Cassidy

Terrorism Today: The Past, the Players, the Future, Second Edition. By Clifford E. Simonsen, CPP, and Jeremy R. Spindlove; published by Pearson Prentice Hall, www.prenhall.com (Web); 446 pages; $51.

Kill one, frighten a thousand. That statement, made by the habitually quoted Sun Tzu, is how the authors begin chapter one of the second edition of Terrorism Today. That philosophy underlies terrorist activity today, the authors say.

Like the first edition, this updated version explores various approaches to the study of terrorism and its impact on society. The authors make the point that terrorists have many faces--not just those of Osama bin Laden and his followers, but others such as the U.S. citizen who opens fire in an abortion clinic.

The authors devote a chapter to cataloging and differentiating various types of terrorism--such as domestic, international, left-wing, right-wing, and special-interest--and tracing the issue's historical roots. They then devote the bulk of the book to describing the history and current status of terrorism by region. For example, the authors devote more than a page to Narodnaya Volya, a terrorist group active in Russia from 1878-1881 and bent on toppling the czars.

Curiously, the authors only cursorily discuss chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons of mass destruction in a chapter on terrorism in the 21st century. Rather than enlighten readers on how government agencies and corporations are revamping strategies to counter this threat, they summarize two reports by the U.S. General Accounting Office, one from July 2000 and the other from February 2002.

In terms of format, text flows smoothly and layout is clean. Sidebars called "Terrorism Players," "Terrorism Briefs," and "Terrorism Bytes," helpfully pull out chunk-size information from the text. College professors, students, security professionals, and government officials will find this book to be a good read and an excellent reference.


Reviewer: Kevin Cassidy is the vice president of corporate security for Reuters America, in New York City, and a lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is a member of ASIS International.

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