Driven to Death: Psychological and Social Aspects of Suicide Terrorism / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $38.96
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 22%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (5) from $38.96   
  • New (3) from $38.96   
  • Used (2) from $42.46   


Suicide attacks are the definitive form of terrorism. More than any other terrorist tactic, they convey the ruthless willingness of present day terrorists to kill themselves for killing others. Since September 11, 2001 the number of suicide attacks around the world has risen dramatically, causing on average far more fatalities per attack than other forms of terrorism.

What drives a person to kill himself for killing others, in the name of a political or religious cause? This book is the first to report a series of studies in which failed suicide bombers and organizers of suicide attacks were subjected to systematic clinical psychological interviews and tests and were compared to non-suicide terrorists. This direct psychological examination enabled a first-hand assessment of the personality characteristics and motivation of suicide bombers. Additional interviews conducted by seasoned area specialists provided a comprehensive picture of the ways by which the suicide bombers were recruited, prepared and dispatched to their planned death, as well as how they felt and behaved along this road. This information was supplemented by data derived from interviews with the families of suicide bombers who died carrying out their attacks.

The psychological makeup of suicide terrorists is put into context in other chapters of the book, so as to provide an inclusive understanding of this phenomenon, which takes into account public atmosphere and the ways in which terrorist groups influence the suicide candidates. The book examines the characteristics of suicide terrorists in light of the most influential theories of suicide and offers a critical and innovative analysis of current explanations of suicide terrorism.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With Driven to Death, Ariel Merari, who has studied terrorism for more than thirty years, offers a crucial advance in our understanding of the causal mechanisms behind suicide missions thanks to groundbreaking research on a sample of incarcerated Palestinian would-be suicide bombers... In this sense, overall the book is successful in providing a more adequate articulation of our view of the phenomenon. It forms a very important basis for new empirical research on (suicide) terrorism, which can be successful only if it is inspired by a genuine multidisciplinary perspective." — European Journal of Social Sciences

"In 'Driven to Death,' Ariel Merari brings together insights accumulated over a more-than-40-year career as one of the world's top academic experts on terrorism and its suicide variety. Overall, Mr. Merari's "Driven to Death" is highly recommended as an insightful treatment of suicide terrorism and the factors that drive it." — Joshua Sinai, The Washington Times

"No one has studied suicide terrorists longer than psychologist Ariel Merari, who has had the advantage of working in Israel during three decades in which suicide terrorism has been all too common. It is impossible to summarize the rich evidence and insight in this book... Every chapter puts the reader in touch with the perspective of an author with unmatched experience in studying suicide terrorism... there can be no doubt that future research on suicide terrorism will build on this book." — Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko, Terrorism and Political Violence

"The author, a clinical psychologist, is one of the world's preeminent experts on suicide terrorism, and a long-time adviser to Israeli governments on these issues. In this important book, the author discusses the psychological, cultural and political factors that drive individuals to intentionally kill themselves in order to kill others on behalf of their political or religious cause. In the case of Palestinian suicide bombers, the author's findings are based on empirical data gathered by a team of Israeli researchers (including Dr. Anat Berko), who interviewed Palestinian prisoners who had 'failed' to carry out their suicide attacks. The result was a first-hand assessment of the personality characteristics and motivation of such suicide bombers." — Joshua Sinai's Top 150 Books on Terrorism and Counter-terrorism article in Perspectives on Terrorism

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195181029
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/4/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 1,016,292
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Prof. Ariel Merari has studied terrorism and political violence for more than 30 years. He has been a faculty member of Tel Aviv University's Department of psychology, established the terrorism research program at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, a visiting professor at Berkeley and Harvard, and a Senior Fellow at the Kennedy School's International Security Program. He has published widely on terrorism and was interviewed by all major television networks.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 3

2 The Sepectrum of Suicide for an Ideological Cause 13

3 Demographic Characteristics of Suicide Bombers: A Global View 61

4 Palestinian Suicide Bombers in the Eyes of Their Familes 83

5 A Controlled Study of Would-Be Suicides 103

6 Palestinian Organizers of Suicide Attacks: Psychological Characteristics and Decision Making 147

7 Public Atmosphere 173

8 Suicide Terrorism in the Light of Suicide Theory 199

9 Current Explanations of Suicide Terrorism 225

10 Conclusion: An Integrative View of Suicide Terrorism 261

References 281

Appendix 1 Palestinaian Population's Support for, or Opposition to, Armed Operations and Suicide Attacks 295

Index 305

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)