Blood and Rage

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Overview

In this sweeping and deeply penetrating work, distinguished historian Michael Burleigh explores the nature of terrorism from its origins in the West to the current global threat fueled by fundamentalists. Burleigh takes us from the roots of terrorism in the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Russian Nihilists, and the London-based anarchists of Black International to the various terrorist campaigns that exist today. He also explores the lives of people engaged in careers of political violence and those who are ...

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Blood and Rage: History of Terrorism

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Overview

In this sweeping and deeply penetrating work, distinguished historian Michael Burleigh explores the nature of terrorism from its origins in the West to the current global threat fueled by fundamentalists. Burleigh takes us from the roots of terrorism in the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Russian Nihilists, and the London-based anarchists of Black International to the various terrorist campaigns that exist today. He also explores the lives of people engaged in careers of political violence and those who are most affected by the scourge of terrorism. Authoritative, illuminating, and masterfully written, Blood and Rage sheds an unflinching light on the global threat that we are likely to face for decades to come.

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Editorial Reviews

Louise Richardson
Behind the blood and the rage, this is a learned and erudite book. Burleigh's broad survey provides detailed descriptions of many of the most important terrorist movements and the sociopolitical contexts in which they have operated since the mid-19th century. He seamlessly synthesizes vast amounts of historical material and provides often riveting accounts of terrorist atrocities and the literary and political environments where they took place.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Burleigh (Earthly Powers), one of the leading English-language scholars of the role of ideas in the modern world, makes another major contribution in this pull-no-punches cultural study of terrorism as it has been lived and practiced for a century and a half. Burleigh sees modern terrorism's roots in the mid-19th century, with the emergence of the Irish Fenians, the Russian nihilists, the Western anarchists who used fear induced by violence to compensate for their lack of political power. Their tactics were adopted in the mid-20th century by movements seeking decolonization, like the Palestinian Black September, Italy's Red Brigades and Germany's Red Army Faction. By century's end, terrorism further mutated into a tool for marginalized "local nations" like the Basques. Most recently, terrorism has become identified with what Burleigh calls the "world rage of Islamism." Burleigh's case studies demonstrate mercilessly that terrorism is "a career, a culture, and a way of life" attractive for its own sake as well as its ostensible objectives. The terrorist milieu, the author demonstrates convincingly, is "morally squalid," intellectually bankrupt and politically barren. Burleigh considers the lessons history has to teach us, though he eschews policy recommendations. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

British historian Burleigh (Sacred Causes: The Clash of Religion and Politics, from the Great War to the War on Terror), who defines himself here as a conservative realist, examines the cultural history of terrorism from the Irish Fenians in the mid-19th century through our times. Groups covered include Russian nihilists, American and European anarchists, Palestinian Black September, Italian Red Brigades, and al-Qaeda. Instead of studying the ideology that compels people to adopt violence as a means of social and political change, Burleigh focuses on the life histories and actions of the participants (e.g., how and from whom they obtain funds and weapons; how they plan and execute attacks on people and institutions). From this perspective, people who become terrorists are not always freedom fighters but individuals who occupy a world that is "morally squalid when it is not merely criminal," as Burleigh writes. He discusses the responses of governments to these threats, using research from periodical articles and secondary sources. The central value of this work lies in the examination of the inner workings of terrorist organizations. Some readers will take issue with the author's political bent and his apparent hostility to concepts of social change. Recommended for all public and academic libraries.
—Stephen L. Hupp

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061173868
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/9/2010
  • Pages: 581
  • Sales rank: 969,702
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Burleigh is the author of Earthly Powers, Sacred Causes, and The Third Reich: A New History, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction. He is married and lives in London.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition xi

Preface xiii

1 Green: The Fenian Dynamiters 1

2 Red: Russian Nihilists and Revolutionaries 27

3 Black: Anarchists and Terrorism 67

4 Death in the Sun: Terror and Decolonisation 88

5 Attention-Seeking: Black September and International Terrorism 152

6 Guilty White Kids: The Red Brigades and the Red Army Faction 189

7 Small-Nation Terror 268

8 World Rage: Islamist Terrorism 346

Afterthoughts 487

Notes 519

Picture Credits 535

Select Bibliography 537

Index 551

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    If this was the 1930's Germany,

    This book would have been thrown in the fire! Its that good.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 4, 2012

    Fascinating

    Burleigh seems to have a little bit of British conservative bias through out this book,but it's well written and very interesting,so that makes up for it. Not recommended for those without basic knowledge of world history and Geography.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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