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Assassin: Theory and Practice of Political Violence / Edition 1

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Overview

Assassination as a political act has a long history, predating the murder of Julius Caesar and continuing into our own time. The murder of the mighty has long fascinated artists and rebels but only rarely has it been studied in a scholarly manner. In Assassin, J. Bowyer Bell combines existing historical evidence with years of personal interviews with terrorists in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. The result is an incisive study of that enigmatic figure, the revolutionary killer.

As Bell makes clear, the motives of the actors, and effectiveness of assassination, vary widely across time and place. Assassination in many parts of the world has not only been a normal political act, rational, explicable, but also often effective, in some cases taking fewer lives in the transfer of power than an election. Likewise, there have been all kinds of assassins—personal, psychopathic, professional, ranging from lonely failures trying to make their mark to authorized agents of the state.

Using the assassination of Henry IV of France as a historical backdrop, Bell writes about contemporary political murder from the perspective of one who has studied the subject of political violence for decades. Bell has met with or known well the perpetrators, conspirators, and intended victims of assassination who have escaped. His interviewees include a radical Irish revolutionary leader, an American Arabist diplomat, a spokesman for the PLO, and the president of a Mozambique liberation movement. The itinerary of his investigative journeys covers most of the flashpoints of contemporary political violence.

The people and places studied here at firsthand are engaged in a deadly game. The attrition rate is often high, the power fleeting, and the consequences often unforeseen. If past is prologue, assassination is to be with us for years to come. The volume will be essential reading for those engaged in the prevention of political violence and terror as well as historians and political scientists.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412805094
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/15/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

J. Bowyer Bell (1931-2003) was professor of international relations at Columbia University and president of International Analysis Center. He focused on problems of unconventional law, terrorism, deception, and crisis management. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and recipient of more than seven Guggenheim Fellowships. Bell’s consultancy firm, The International Analysis Centre, which he founded, focused on problems of terrorism, deception, risk analysis, and crisis management and had many governmental clients including the United States Department of the State and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Irving Louis Horowitz (1929-2012) was Hannah Arendt Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Political Science at Rutgers University. He was the founder and served as chairman of the board and editorial director of Transaction Publishers. A prolific writer, he authored more than fifty books, as well as hundreds of articles and essays.

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Table of Contents

Prologue : "I've been stabbed!" : the assassination of Henry IV of France 5
Pt. I Murder of the mighty 19
Ch. 1 Killing no murder 21
Ch. 2 Killing as murder 49
Ch. 3 Killing as politics : war and order, murderous legitimacies 88
Ch. 4 Killing by the state authorized murder 121
Ch. 5 Killing as politics : the rebels 149
Intermezzo I 179
Pt. II To strike at the state : patterns of political murder 189
Intermezzo II 241
Pt. III The theory and practice of revolutionary assassination 251
Ch. 1 Ogro, Moro, Ewart-Biggs, and Schleyer : murder in the streets of Europe 253
Ch. 2 The past as prologue 291
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