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Demaris, author of a detailed inventory of America's most bloody deeds (America the Violent, 1970), now turns his sights--or is that guns?--to international terrorism, considering every group from the Arab Rejection Front, to the IRA nd the UDA and even, incidentally, the Fighters for Free Croatia. Demaris describes dozens of incidents and hundreds of people--terrorists, hostages, politicians, guerrilla leaders--in this terrifically cluttered but poorly focused narrative. Like everyone else who has written about the subject, he is mesmerized by Carlos, ""The Jackal,"" who has become an emblematic figure of the terrorist conspiracy. But Carlos, or Ilich Ranfirez Sanchez, is dealt with much more effectively by London Observer journalist Colin Smith (Carlos, p. 148) and the indiscriminate nature of the terrorist epidemic is better covered by Christopher Dobson and Ronald Payne in The Carlos Complex (p. 461). Demaris, to do him credit, does try to delve into the long and anguished history of Arab-Israeli relations and of Protestant-Catholic sectarianism in Ulster. But what is one to make of a statement like: ""Political terrorism is a by-product of the Industrial Revolution, a disorder created by the destruction of the ancient patterns of life."" Might it not just as readily be called a by-product of the French Revolution, Colonialism, or the Atomic Age? As to nuclear products, Demaris in his concluding chapter, ""Apocalypse,"" foresees that the next development in international blackmail will be nuclear terrorism--a prognosis that fits right in with his Panic-inducing conviction that the worst is sure to happen.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Scribners