Terrorism is one of the driving geopolitical trends of our era. Spectacular events are recognized by their dates--for example, the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington and the 7/7 London bombings. It was a terrorist attack that drew the United States into a war in the greater Middle East that has lasted over fifteen years. Many other attacks, including those in non-Western countries, receive far less attention even though they may be more frequent and cumulatively cause more casualties.
In Terrorism: What Everyone Needs to Know®, Todd Sandler, one of America's leading scholars on the topic, provides a broad and example-rich overview of this perennially important issue. After clearly defining terrorism, he then discusses terrorism's causes, the nature of terrorist groups, how governments seek to counter terrorism, its economic consequences, and the future of terrorism. He focuses, in particular, on the extent to which specific motivations (nationalism/separatism, left and right extremism, and religious fundamentalism) and general conditions (poverty, globalization, and regime type) affect the frequency and costs of terrorism. As he explains, researchers have never established a link between poverty and terrorism or between globalization and terrorism. He also identifies many other widely-held misconceptions. Throughout, he emphasizes that terrorists are rational actors who seek political goals subject to situation-specific constraints. They respond to enhanced security measures by altering their tactics, targets, and location, making their reactions predictable. Both highly accessible and theoretically powerful, this book is the perfect primer for anyone interested in the ongoing threat of terrorism.