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Book Review: Randall Law. 2016. Terrorism: A History Randall Law. 2016. Terrorism: A History. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 386 pp. ISBN: 978-0-7456-9089-6

Alusa, D. (2018) Book Review: Randall Law. 2016. Terrorism: A History Randall Law. 2016. Terrorism: A History. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 386 pp. ISBN: 978-0-7456-9089-6. Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, 5 (1). pp. 107-110.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1177/2347797017751714
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Abstract

Giving an account of the evolution of terrorism over millennia is an extensive task that Randall Law undertakes in the second edition of his book titled Terrorism: A History. The book is divided into 16 chapters that provide a chronological overview of how terrorism has evolved from the period of the ancient Assyrians from the ninth to seventh centuries BCE to the onset of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). While each chapter focuses on the unique social circumstances and conditions that precipitated the rise of different terrorist groups and attacks, the chapters are linked through Law’s explanation of how the tactics and objectives of preceding groups influenced the formation and methods used by subsequent terrorist groups. It is the tactical similarities among the terrorist groups that inform Law’s understanding of terrorism which, he describes as a middle ground between traditionalists who identify some ‘forms of violence objectively as terrorism’ and critical terrorism scholars who view terrorism as a label that ‘nearly always serves a powerful agents agenda’ (p. 6). Law’s broad understanding of terrorism enables him to include a vast array of terrorist incidences and groups in his book. Ironically, this not only enriches many of the arguments in the book but also results in confusion over what forms of political violence constitute acts of terrorism.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Copyright: © 2018 by SAGE Publications
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/40808
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