Terrorism: How to Respond
Written by an historian who has long studied Irish terrorism and politics, this book argues that we cannot adequately respond to the practical challenge of terrorist violence around the world unless we are more honest about the precise nature of the phenomenon, and about explaining its true and complex causes. Drawing on first-hand research into terrorist organizations, Richard English offers an authoritative and accessible analysis of arguably the most urgent political problem of the twenty-first century--and how we can successfully respond to it.
English (Armed Struggle), a professor of politics at Belfast's Queen's University, applies lessons learned from the sectarian struggle in Northern Ireland to the broader issue of international terrorism in this provocative primer. The author lambastes the war on terror for nurturing the disaffection from which terrorist activity is generated. Effective response is contingent on a sharper, more accurate, and more integrated historical perspective, he posits, making selective comparisons between Irish and Islamic terrorism to tease out what conditions incite and sustain significant terrorism campaigns. English's seven-point proposal (approaches the U.S. has disastrously ignored in its response to September 11) warns against a primarily military response and recommends instead a coordinated policy of security as well as financial and technological measures, with an emphasis on military intelligence—not force—as the most vital element in successful counter-terrorism. More controversial is his advice to learn to live with terrorism as part of our political reality and his contention that terrorism, historically ubiquitous, can never be defeated, merely contained while we strive to address its root problems. (Sept.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Richard English is the author of outstanding histories of the IRA and Irish nationalism. Thoughtful scholarship lies at the heart of this fine analysis of terrorism as both a military and a political problem...In exploring this huge subject, English makes many telling points...while using history to console us with the thought that many terrorist movements eventually atrophy, provided societies have the resilience to see them out. Michael Burleigh, Literary Review The clearest thinking on this scourge to have come along in many years. John Arquilla, Foreign Policy If you want to read one book which explains the phenomenon of terrorism, gives you a good historical grasp of the subject while also providing a dispassionate roadmap to guide you thrpugh the term's complex meanderings and its many intellectual cul-de-sacs, then this is the book for you. It is outstanding: short and beautifully written, it manages also to be thoroughly on top of its subject. Conor Gearty, Irish Times This is a very fine book. It is elegant and persuasively argued from a man who really does know what he is talking about. The long view of Richard English is vital in an age of the knee-jerk. Fergal Keane, BBC Special Correspondant thoughtful, informed meditation on the state of terrorism research. Lawrence Freedman, Foreign Affairs English negotiates a sophisticated path through the questions of definition and explanation that have long dominated this field...[The book] retains a credibility and persuasiveness lacked by many of its competitors [and] advances our understanding of terrorism, its costs and its consequences considerablu. International Affairs a useful and accessible text for scholars and policymakers alike...English's book brings much needed attention to the state and the central role it plays in sustaining and ending terrorism...[it] explores both the analytical and practical problems associated with terrorism. Terrorism and Political Violence This is a very sensible, well-written and well-reasoned book, based not only on the author's own area of expertise but also on wide reading in the literature...Almost uniquely among those who write about terrorism, he has done many years of archival and textual research, talked to many people described as "terrorists", and lived in a city where campaigns of violence were actually being waged. Critical Studies on Terrorism a sober corrective to some dangerous recent misconceptions Prospect a thought-provoking primer for politicians seeking something to stimulate them. The American Conservative provocative...controversial. Publishers Weekly Richard English is an academic at Queen's Universiy, Belfast who has been studying terror, and especially for the IRA, for serveral decades///western governments continue to need constant admonitions, such as English provides, to adopt proportionate rather than draconian responses. Max Hastings, Sunday Times
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