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Origins of Terrorism

, 304 pages
September 1998



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Origins of Terrorism

Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind

Terrorists and terrorism have become a major force internationally. Hostage-taking and other acts of violence for political ends are common all over the globe. This groundbreaking study sheds new light on the phenomenon of terrorism.

This book examines and explains the nature and sources of terrorists' beliefs, actions, goals, worldviews, and states of mind. Origins of Terrorism addresses, with scholarly responsibility as well as necessary urgency, one of the most vexing intellectual and political challenges of our time.

The contributors to this book bring deep learning and experience in realms that are vital to an understanding of the arenas within which terrorist behavior takes place-arenas such as ideology, nationalism and religion. The authors explore terrorist behavior in its troubling richness and diversity, and identify the ways in which it develops, grows and sustains itself. In addition, they study the mechanisms that enable terrorists to easily carry out violent acts against innocents, as well as the ways in which leaders of governments respond to terrorist actions and threats. Finally, they identify the opportunities for future research in the psychology of terrorism as well as the limits of such research

This collection, under Reich's editorship, will help us to understand terrorism as well as the motivations behind it. Origins of Terrorism, which is being published simultaneously in hardcover and paperback, is an important study which is bound to affect the way we look at world politics.

Walter Reich is a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. A psychiatrist, he is former director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and was a Senior Research Psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health.

"Pursue[s] the pathology of terrorism through the centuries... A fascinating amount of information."

"A disquieting but fascinating book... Strongly recommended."

"An honest and penetrating effort to explain the role of human psychology in terrorism."

"These essays contain an excellent blend of theory with specific facts and narrative accounts of dealing with terrorism. I don't know of another book which has the sweep of this one, the illustrative detail, and the welcome, refreshing recognition that there is no neat explanation for terrorism. This book will have a major impact on future research."

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