Dying Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror Hardcover – May 18 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. An "explanation of the unexplainable," this lucid and comprehensive study of the historical roots and contemporary motivations of suicide terror is a major study. Bloom's historical range is formidable; the first eight chapters are a marvel of historical compression, moving from the Zealots of first-century Judea to the Japanese kamikaze of WWII within a few bleak but instructive pages. Bloom stresses that suicide bombings can only thrive with the implied consent of an aggrieved population, which can be withdrawn: the Omagh bombing of 1998, for example, was a disaster for the IRA. Over and over again—from Chechnya to the West Bank—history teaches that harsh counterterror tactics become part of the cycle, or, as University of Cincinnati political scientist Bloom terms it, part of the contagion of violence. She sees hopeful signs in Turkey's recent measured and partially successful response to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. The book also includes a fascinating chapter on suicide terror as practiced by women, especially in Chechnya and Sri Lanka, and how it is viewed, ironically, as a source of female empowerment. The last chapter is a clear-eyed consideration of the possible occurrence of suicide bombing on U.S. territory. A generous appendix contains charts and usefully annotated list of sources. (June)
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This lucid and comprehensive study of the historical roots and contemporary motivations of suicide terror is a major study.(Publishers Weekly)
Ms. Bloom...who has done extensive field research...[is] able to present a more nuanced and better informed analysis of suicide terror.(Joshua Sinai Washington Times)
[Bloom] sheds interesting light on a phenomenon often mistakenly believed to be restricted to the Middle East.(Washington Post Book World)
An insightful investigation into the internal workings of terrorist groups.(Karl Helicher ForeWord)
Pertinent for western countries... It's a great introduction for students and those wishing to know more about the complex motivations of suicide bombers.(Katherine Boothroyd Altar Magazine)
Bloom offers valuable insights into the rational calculus of terrorist groups.(Peter Pham The National Interest)
The book is both well written and very informative... In troubled times such as these the book is worth reading.(Stefan Isaksson UFO.SE)
A detailed study of suicide terror.(Ira Smolensky Salem Press)
[Bloom] makes a convincing case.(Mayer Nudell Security Management)
Bloom offers valuable insights into the rational calculus of terrorist groups.(J. Peter Pham Current)
A welcome addition to a rapidly growing field of research.(Ignacio Sanchez-Cuenca Political Science Quarterly)
Dying to Kill leaves us with a better understanding of the effects of oppression on populations, and the rationale behind the adoption of suicide bombing as a strategy by both groups and individuals.(Aharon Horowitz Azure)
Anyone who wishes to really attempt to understand the history and motivations, Mia Bloom's tome is the way to go.(American Jewish Life) See all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Methodologically the book appears to be a most dissimilar case comparison in which the author shows the linkages among groups and individual motivations. Instead of presenting the groups that suicide bomb as either religious or secular, the author presents a spectum along which most groups fall.
Super interesting especially the author's discussion of women bombers and how they are motivated.
I enjoyed this book immensely. I am sure you will too.
The book examines suicide bombing from all over the world, and I learned for instance, that not all groups using suicide terrorism are radical Muslims like those in Al Qaeda ... the author went to Sri Lanka and interviewed the Tigers, who committed the most suicide attacks of all the groups put together and they are Hindus. The book also examines why women become bombers, something I really did not know much about and contrasts Chechnya and Israel/Palestine and explains what went wrong in Iraq. This book was really fantastic. I recommend it enthusiastically.
She emphasizes that, contrary to what some people say about terrorism being irrational, this is a political tactic that can make sense under certain circumstances. Early on, she notes that (page 1):
Terrorist groups appear to use suicide bombings under two
conditions: when other terrorist or military tactics fail,
and when they are in competition with other terrorist
groups for popular or financial support.
In addition, she contends that suicide bombings can only be effective when a population is supportive of this tactic. Also, she observes that history shows that harsh punitive counterterrorist tactics actually exacerbate the situation. Ham-fisted antiterrorist actions leads to more people who are "dying to kill." A kind of contagion effect has been manifest over time. Bloom says that (page 126) "As suicide terror has proven relatively successful in the Middle East or places like Sri Lanka, there has been an upsurge in the number of regions, countries, and non-state actors that utilize it as a tactic in their nationalist struggles against (real or perceived) foreign occupations."
She concludes by noting that the United States has a potential "lose-lose" in Iraq. On the one hand, if the United States stays in Iraq over time, it will be perceived as an occupying power and be subject to greater suicide terrorist tactics against it. On the other hand, if the United States pulls out prematurely, that would embolden terrorist strikes, as the U. S. appears to be a "paper tiger." This becomes another side effect of the United States' invasion of Iraq. If she is correct, another legacy of the war may be implications for future terrorist actions against the United States.