Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives and Issues, Second Edition

By Major General Jack A. Davis

***** Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives and Issues, Second Edition. By Gus Martin; published by Sage Publications, (Web); 563 pages; $57.95.

Terrorism is one of the most discussed and written-about topics of our time, and it’s not going away soon. The Department of Defense has announced its “long war theory,” which implies that the United States will be involved in the war on terrorism for years to come. Gus Martin, in Understanding Terrorism, provides an in-depth look at the history of terrorism and offers a glimpse into the future of where this terrible phenomenon is likely headed.

This book is touted as a resource for university students and professionals who require fundamental knowledge of terrorist violence. It offers this and more. It can serve as a baseline reference for anyone in law enforcement, corporate security, or the military to improve their situational awareness of terrorist threats.

Designed as a textbook, the work lends itself to educational use. Each chapter ends with key terms and concepts, discussion boxes containing provocative information and challenging questions, recommended Web sites, Web exercises, and suggested readings. Martin’s use of tables, charts, maps, and graphs drive home the lesson that the “study of terrorism is first and foremost a study of human behavior.”

Among subtopics explored are asymmetric tactics, cell-based networks, the Internet, weapons of mass destruction, and the ideology of religion-based terror.

The first half of the book covers defining terrorism, understanding root causes, and educating the reader in various terrorist ideologies. A section on religious terrorism is particularly enlightening.

In short, Understanding Terrorism sets the standard as a textbook and baseline for anyone who desires to increase their real-world knowledge of terrorism. It is an enlightening piece to a most difficult puzzle.

Reviewer: Major General Jack A. Davis, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (Ret.) is a retired special agent for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. He holds two master’s degrees and is a member of the ASIS Global Terrorism, Political Instability, and International Crime Council.



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