***** Terrorism Today: The Past, the Players, the Future, Third Edition. By Clifford E. Simonsen and Jeremy R. Spindlove; published by Prentice Hall, www.prenticehall.com (Web); 624 pages; $80.40.
The years since September 11 have seen a proliferation of experts, organizations, seminars, overpriced conferences, and books all relating to terrorism. But Clifford Simonsen and Jeremy Spindlove, both of whom have academic and operational experience in the area, have updated one volume that truly stands out.
Clearly intended as a college-level textbook, this work is divided into three parts: The Definitions and History of Terrorism, Terrorism Around the World, and The War on Terror. Initial chapters include a comprehensive discussion of the history of terrorism, plus definitions and discussion of terms. Each chapter highlights important terms and includes extensive Web site addresses and endnotes.
The authors define terrorism itself broadly, and provide different classifications. There is terrorism’s simplest definition as violence, or the threat of violence, intended to produce fear or cause change; plus, a legal definition and an analytical one. The authors separate terrorism into various classes, such as state-sponsored terrorism and cases in which states themselves use terror to repress citizens. The authors provide numerous examples from throughout history.
Chapter 13 is one of the book’s most interesting, and it may serve as a valuable reference. The chapter outlines counterterrorist organizations, the role of INTERPOL, and intelligence methods. It also provides an excellent overview of U.S. and international legislation, from United Nations resolutions to the USA Patriot Act.
The final chapter discusses the war on terrorism, sharing success stories like the hunt for Ramzi Ahmad Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The CIA believed Ramzi was hiding in Pakistan. Exploiting the popularity of smoking there, the agency distributed thousands of matchboxes bearing Ramzi’s picture and notice of a $2 million reward for information leading to his capture. It worked, and Ramzi is currently in a U.S. prison serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
The book ends with a comprehensive glossary of terrorist groups and terms.
Terrorism Today is an excellent one-stop source for the student or the professional security practitioner, and it is highly recommended to anyone who wants a comprehensive terrorism reference.
Reviewer: Adrian A. Barnie, CPP, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist), is with the Anti-Money Laundering Unit of Key Bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a member of ASIS.