Thursday, September 28, 2006

Terrorism 101: A Library Reference & Selected Annotated Bibliography

Terrorism 101 provides an insightful and educational read into the "nuts and bolts" of Terrorism. Terrorism is not a new trend. Dr. Leon Newton shows that terrorism has existed for as long as Governments have been in place. He points to historical accounts of terrorism that go back to such early periods as BC 334.

Terrorism 101 offers readers a detailed account of the history of terrorism, the role of the media and terrorism, the historical roots of terrorism, countering terrorism, foreign policies and their influence on terrorism, and a historical account of the formation of Al Qaeda. A thoroughly researched reference book, Terrorism 101 presents an enlightened perspective on terrorism. An in depth Appendix and Bibliography provides readers with many works written by other experts in the field of terrorism.

With so much written about terrorism, it is often difficult to research the topic to gain an understanding of the motives behind it. Dr. Newton provides readers with well-researched and factually documented information that helps one understand the various aspects of terrorism. It is a handy resource tool for those seeking to educate themselves about the many issues concerning terrorism.

When reading the book, a number of important topics come up. The role of the media and its ability to sway public opinion is one important concern. It would have been interesting to see a chapter devoted exclusively to the Cable Television News Networks. The 24-hour news channels are a powerful tool in swaying public opinion. For instance, when the subject of invading Iraq was placed in the public domain, the 24 hour news channels first tried to show both sides, those for and those against. Later, a bias evolved supporting the pro invasion side, possibly motivated by the thrill of accompanying the military during the invasion, which may have influenced journalists to stop asking the right questions.

Much like the "war on drugs," the declaration of "war on terror" and the use of preemptive strikes reveal an unrealistic ideal. The Preemptive Strike Doctrine only fuels the spread of Terrorism. By addressing historical and current events, Dr. Newton points out that "modernizing a culture too fast can lead to a proliferation of terrorists, as those who feel marginalized, powerless, and threatened," become easy prey for terrorist organizations seeking new recruits.

Dr. Newton explains that military intervention alone does not stop terrorists. In times of turmoil, losing one's rational perspective, diplomatic voice, and non-military methods aimed at preventing terrorism, can only lead to the further proliferation of terrorists. We see this happening in Iraq. Terrorism 101 provides readers with a rational and comprehensive guide to understanding terrorism and the choices that are available to reduce the spread of terrorist activities with the goal of preventing such horrific events as 911.

I highly recommend this well crafted and well-researched book to readers interested in a rational approach to understanding terrorism. It should be an added resource tool for all libraries and personal reference collections.

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Paperback: 316 pages Publisher: Outskirts Press (July 3, 2006) ISBN: 1598006118
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