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Dying to Kill : The Allure of Suicide Terror

Overview

Mia Bloom examines the use, strategies, successes, and failures of suicide bombin in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe and assesses the effectiveness of government responses. She begins with a review of the long history of terrorism, from the Japanese kamikazes during World War II, to the Palestinian, Tamil, Iraqi, and Chechen terrorists of today. Bloom explores how suicide terror is used to instill public fear, attract international news coverage, gain support for terrorist causes, and create solidarity or ...
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Overview

Mia Bloom examines the use, strategies, successes, and failures of suicide bombin in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe and assesses the effectiveness of government responses. She begins with a review of the long history of terrorism, from the Japanese kamikazes during World War II, to the Palestinian, Tamil, Iraqi, and Chechen terrorists of today. Bloom explores how suicide terror is used to instill public fear, attract international news coverage, gain support for terrorist causes, and create solidarity or competition between disparate terrorist organizations. She also considers how terrorist groups learn from one another, how they respond to counterterror tactics, and where they receive their funding, and a new preface features an in-depth study of modern-day Pakistan, Somalia, and Iraq. Bloom boldly contends that social and political motivations inspire suicide bombers, and she develops a theory explaining why terrorist tactics work in some instances and fail in others.

About the Author:
Mia Bloom is an assistant professor of International Affairs at the University of Georgia in Athens

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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Bloom stresses that suicide bombings can only thrive with the implied consent of an aggrieved population, which can be withdrawn: the Omagh bombing of 1998, for example, was a disaster for the IRA.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) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Washington Times - Joshua Sinai

Ms. Bloom...who has done extensive field research...[is] able to present a more nuanced and better informed analysis of suicide terror.

ForeWord - Karl Helicher

An insightful investigation into the internal workings of terrorist groups.

Altar Magazine - Katherine Boothroyd

Pertinent for western countries... It's a great introduction for students and those wishing to know more about the complex motivations of suicide bombers.

The National Interest - Peter Pham

Bloom offers valuable insights into the rational calculus of terrorist groups.

UFO.SE - Stefan Isaksson

The book is both well written and very informative... In troubled times such as these the book is worth reading.

Salem Press - Ira Smolensky

A detailed study of suicide terror.

Security Management - Mayer Nudell

[Bloom] makes a convincing case.

Current - J. Peter Pham

Bloom offers valuable insights into the rational calculus of terrorist groups.

Political Science Quarterly - Ignacio Sanchez-Cuenca

A welcome addition to a rapidly growing field of research.

Azure - Aharon Horowitz

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.

Washington Times
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 Post Book World

[Bloom] sheds interesting light on a phenomenon often mistakenly believed to be restricted to the Middle East.

ForeWord
An insightful investigation into the internal workings of terrorist groups.

— Karl Helicher

Altar Magazine
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

The National Interest
Bloom offers valuable insights into the rational calculus of terrorist groups.

— Peter Pham

UFO.SE
The book is both well written and very informative... In troubled times such as these the book is worth reading.

— Stefan Isaksson

Salem Press
A detailed study of suicide terror.

— Ira Smolensky

Security Management
[Bloom] makes a convincing case.

— Mayer Nudell

Current
Bloom offers valuable insights into the rational calculus of terrorist groups.

— J. Peter Pham

Political Science Quarterly
A welcome addition to a rapidly growing field of research.

— Ignacio Sanchez-Cuenca

Azure
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

American Jewish Life

Anyone who wishes to really attempt to understand the history and motivations, Mia Bloom's tome is the way to go.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231133203
  • Publisher: Perseus (for Columbia University Press)
  • Publication date: 5/11/2005
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Mia Bloom is an assistant professor of International Affairs at the University of Georgia in Athens. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and member of the Council of World Affairs. She has published numerous articles on war, terrorism, and ethnic conflict, and her research investigates atrocities across several regions, contrasting the Middle East with South Asia, Europe, and Africa. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and Crail, Scotland.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introduction : the historical antecedents of terror 1
Ch. 2 Palestinian suicide bombing : public support, market share and outbidding 19
Ch. 3 Ethnic conflict, state terror and suicide bombing in Sri Lanka 45
Ch. 4 Devising a theory of suicide terror 76
Ch. 5 Halting suicide terror from within : the PKK in Turkey 101
Ch. 6 Terror 101 : the transnational contagion effects of suicide bombing 120
Ch. 7 Feminism, rape and war : engendering suicide terror? 142
Ch. 8 Conclusions and prospects for the future : will Iraq cause suicide terror at home? 166
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2006

    Too much history and not enough empirical support for conclusions

    The author devotes most of her book to the history of martyrdom and terrorism, but little to the ramifications of her analysis as it pertains to fighting or preventing terrorism on US soil. Much of her analysis of terrorist events is dependent on websites, interviews and academic papers that are somewhat biased, lack empirical data to support premises, and seem to be selected because they support her particular point of view. Overall, it was interesting reading but certainly not as academically rigorous as I would expect from a scholar of her standing.

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