Book Reviews

Read This Before Blowing Yourself Up

By October 19, 2006 No Comments

Suicide attackers are a very effective terrorist tactic — their version of a precision weapon. Able to select exactly when and where they can do the most damage, suicide bombers have proven devastating on a number of occasions.

Robert Pape’s Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (Random House, New York 2005) is a result of the database he collected on some 460 incidents since 1980 and what he has deduced from them. This is useful work, and some of his analysis is sound enough in an academic manner. However, somehow one doesn’t really get to understand the exact processes that turn a Tamil or a Palestinian into such a deadly weapon. This is a useful book, while not a critical addition to a library on terrorism.