Terrorism for Self-glorification: The Herostratos Syndrome

Kent State University Press
Free sample

Examines the motives of terrorists, from ancient Greece to the present day

"A unique work of. . . history, made all the more interesting by its relevance to the time in which we live."
--James R. Elkins, editor of Legal Studies Forum

In this timely study of the roots of terrorism, author Albert Borowitz deftly assesses the phenomenon of violent crime motivated by a craving for notoriety or self-glorification. He traces this particular brand of terrorism back to 356 BCE and the destruction of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus by arsonist Herostratos and then examines similar crimes through history to the present time, detailing many examples of what the author calls the "Herostratos Syndrome," such as the attempted explosion of the Greenwich Observatory in 1894, the Taliban's destruction of the giant Buddhas in Afghanistan, the assassination of John Lennon, the Unabomber strikes, and the attacks on the World Trade Center buildings.

The study of terrorism requires interdisciplinary inquiry. Proving that terrorism cannot be the exclusive focus of a single field of scholarship, Borowitz presents this complex subject using sources based in religion, philosophy, history, Greek mythology, and world literature, including works of Chaucer, Cervantes, Mark Twain, and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Terrorism for Self-Glorification, written in clear and direct prose, is original, thorough, and thought provoking. Scholars, specialists, and general readers will find their understanding of terrorism greatly enhanced by this book.

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About the author

Albert Borowitz is a graduate of Harvard University with a B.A. in classics, an M.A. in Chinese regional studies, and a J.D. He is the author of numerous studies about true crime, including Blood and Ink: An International Guide to Fact-Based Crime Literature (Kent State University Press, 2002). He is a retired partner from the international law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Kent State University Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2005
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Pages
190
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ISBN
9780873388184
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Terrorism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In the post-September 11 world, Al Qaeda is no longer the central organizing force that aids or authorizes terrorist attacks or recruits terrorists. It is now more a source of inspiration for terrorist acts carried out by independent local groups that have branded themselves with the Al Qaeda name. Building on his previous groundbreaking work on the Al Qaeda network, forensic psychiatrist Marc Sageman has greatly expanded his research to explain how Islamic terrorism emerges and operates in the twenty-first century.

In Leaderless Jihad, Sageman rejects the views that place responsibility for terrorism on society or a flawed, predisposed individual. Instead, he argues, the individual, outside influence, and group dynamics come together in a four-step process through which Muslim youth become radicalized. First, traumatic events either experienced personally or learned about indirectly spark moral outrage. Individuals interpret this outrage through a specific ideology, more felt and understood than based on doctrine. Usually in a chat room or other Internet-based venues, adherents share this moral outrage, which resonates with the personal experiences of others. The outrage is acted on by a group, either online or offline.

Leaderless Jihad offers a ray of hope. Drawing on historical analogies, Sageman argues that the zeal of jihadism is self-terminating; eventually its followers will turn away from violence as a means of expressing their discontent. The book concludes with Sageman's recommendations for the application of his research to counterterrorism law enforcement efforts.

Suicide terrorism is rising around the world, but there is great confusion as to why. In this paradigm-shifting analysis, University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape has collected groundbreaking evidence to explain the strategic, social, and individual factors responsible for this growing threat.

One of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject, Professor Pape has created the first comprehensive database of every suicide terrorist attack in the world from 1980 until today. With striking clarity and precision, Professor Pape uses this unprecedented research to debunk widely held misconceptions about the nature of suicide terrorism and provide a new lens that makes sense of the threat we face.

FACT: Suicide terrorism is not primarily a product of Islamic fundamentalism.

FACT: The world’s leading practitioners of suicide terrorism are the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka–a secular, Marxist-Leninist group drawn from Hindu families.

FACT: Ninety-five percent of suicide terrorist attacks occur as part of coherent campaigns organized by large militant organizations with significant public support.

FACT: Every suicide terrorist campaign has had a clear goal that is secular and political: to compel a modern democracy to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland.

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More than simply advancing new theory and facts, these pages also answer key questions about the war on terror:

• Are we safer now than we were before September 11?
• Was the invasion of Iraq a good counterterrorist move?
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Professor Pape answers these questions with analysis grounded in fact, not politics, and recommends concrete ways for today’s states to fight and prevent terrorist attacks. Military options may disrupt terrorist operations in the short term, but a lasting solution to suicide terrorism will require a comprehensive, long-term approach–one that abandons visions of empire and relies on a combined strategy of vigorous homeland security, nation building in troubled states, and greater energy independence.

For both policy makers and the general public, Dying to Win transcends speculation with systematic scholarship, making it one of the most important political studies of recent time.
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