THE AGE OF TERRORISM by Walter Laqueur


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A revision of the author's 1977 classic, Terrorism. Laqueur, Chairman of the International Research Council of the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies, is author of numerous books, including Breaking the Silence, Guerrilla, and Germany Today. Writing in 1977, he was recapping a modern phenomenon that had been resurrected from the late 19th century; but the intervening decade has provided all of us with glimpses of just how close to home the terrorist imperative can strike. Consequently, he now focuses on the dynamics of international terrorism, providing a global survey of the major groups, their motives and ideologies, modes of operation, and aims. As in his earlier volume, Laqueur downplays the frenzy factor in current popular perceptions: ""Compared with the truly important problems of our time. . .terrorism was, after all, a sideshow. . .""; and later, ""Historians may well come to believe that terrorism could not possibly have been the great danger it was alleged to be, for otherwise, a much greater effort would have been made to confront it."" Laqueur finds on the whole that nationalist and separatist terrorists have succeeded best, as opposed to internal terrorists of the right or left. What are the major differences since his earlier volume appeared? The existence of narco-terrorism, for one, and terrorism as substitute warfare sponsored by certain states, for another. Despite a certain flipness and insouciance, Laqueur's remake treats terrorists--""those super-entertainers of our time""--with reasoned commentary and certainly adds more to the discussion than the recent Alchemists of Revolution by Richard E. Rubenstein (p. 459).

Pub Date: June 1st, 1987
Publisher: Little, Brown