Another Kind of War


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The Nature and History of Terrorism

John A. Lynn II

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An accessible and comprehensive history of terrorism from ancient times to the present

In the years since 9/11, there has been a massive surge in interest surrounding the study of terrorism. This volume applies distinguished military historian John Lynn’s lifetime of research and teaching experience to this difficult topic. As a form of violence that implies the threat of future violence, terrorism breeds insecurity, vulnerability, and a desire for retribution that has far-reaching consequences. Lynn distinguishes between the paralyzing effect of fear and the potentially dangerous and chaotic effects of moral outrage and righteous retaliation guiding counterterrorism efforts. In this accessible and comprehensive text, Lynn traces the evolution of terrorism over time, exposing its constants and contrasts. In doing so, he contextualizes this violence and argues that a knowledge of the history and nature of terrorism can temper its psychological effects, and can help us more accurately and carefully assess threats as well as develop informed and measured responses.

John A. Lynn II is emeritus professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and former president of the United States Commission on Military History. His writings include Women, Armies, and Warfare in Early Modern Europe and Battle: A History of Combat and Culture.

“The book makes a significant contribution to the history of terrorism and could prove to be groundbreaking in its interpretations.”—Peter R. Mansoor, Ohio State University

"A comprehensive history of terrorism written by a prominent military historian. Professor Lynn considers terrorism to be a form of psychological warfare perpetrated to inflict fear or incite outrage. His broad definition enables him to consider the commonalities (and differences) of many types of violence carried out for psychological effect—including not only the jihadi or neo-Nazi terrorism in today's headlines, but also lynching by the Ku Klux Klan, systematic rape by war-time belligerents, and state-sanctioned bombing of civilians with the aim of instilling fear. An excellent overview of terrorism for students of world history—in or outside the classroom. This is a great book!"—Jessica Stern, author of Terror in the Name of God

"John A. Lynn brings a unique historical and analytical perspective to the complex subject of terrorism. This book should be required reading for both policy makers and practitioners trying to formulate counters to the myriad approaches terrorists can take. As Lynn shows, the wrong response to acts of terror can cause more damage than the action that precipitated it."—Conrad C. Crane, author of Cassandra in Oz: Counterinsurgency and Future War

"A wide ranging and timely study in which a major scholar employs his knowledge of military history in order to explain a key strand in the history of violence. Lynn is to be congratulated on showing how terrorism should be part of military history."—Jeremy Black, author of War and the World 

"Bringing wide historical insight to the study of terrorism, John Lynn argues that terrorist violence is a strategic option for the powerless that serves distinct political ends. Lynn's book is essential reading."—Allan R. Millet, University of New Orleans

"Another Kind of a 'keeper,' with a clarity of message and a framework that made sense. I can vouch for [Lynn's] ability to educate, not just write about events but to expand into the 'so what?'"—General James Mattis, former Secretary of Defense

Listed on Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles List for 2019
ISBN: 9780300188813
Publication Date: July 23, 2019
520 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
26 b/w illus.
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