Mind of the Terrorist: The Psychology of Terrorism from the IRA to Al-Qaeda

Overview

In contrast to the widely held assumption that terrorists are crazed fanatics, Jerrold Post demonstrates they are psychologically “normal” and that “hatred has been bred in the bone”. He reveals the powerful motivations that drive these ordinary people to such extraordinary evil by exploring the different types of terrorists, from national-separatists such as the Irish Republican Army to social revolutionary terrorists such as the Shining Path, as well as religious extremists ...

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The Mind of the Terrorist: The Psychology of Terrorism from the IRA to al-Qaeda

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Overview

In contrast to the widely held assumption that terrorists are crazed fanatics, Jerrold Post demonstrates they are psychologically “normal” and that “hatred has been bred in the bone”. He reveals the powerful motivations that drive these ordinary people to such extraordinary evil by exploring the different types of terrorists, from national-separatists such as the Irish Republican Army to social revolutionary terrorists such as the Shining Path, as well as religious extremists like al-Qaeda and Aum Shinrikyo. In The Mind of the Terrorist, Post uses his expertise to explain how the terrorist mind works and how this information can help us to combat terrorism more effectively.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is an exceptionally well-written book that makes a significant contribution to the field of counter-terrorism."

- Terrorism and Political Violence

"Jerrold Post's compelling Mindof the Terrorist is a comprehensive and informative account of the psychology of terrorists and how their history has shaped their motivations."

- Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I Know

"Terrorism is a form of psychological warfare, requiring a psychologically sophisticated response based on an understanding of how terrorists think. Jerry Post provides us a road map-not only of the mind of the terrorist-but also how we can use that understanding to dissuade, deter, and destroy terrorist groups. The strategy Post develops is based on decades of studying violent individuals, including interviews of terrorists, some of which he describes in detail in these pages. Post is a teacher of terrorism teachers-and his latest offering is a gift to all who wish to understand the myriad psychological roots of terrorism."

- Jessica Stern, author of Terror in the Name of God and Academic Director of the Program on Terrorism and the Law at Harvard Law School

"Dr. Jerrold Post is a pioneer in the study of terrorist psychology. In this capstone book, he takes us into the minds of the terrorists through their own words, persuasively demonstrating how disturbingly normal they are in their own cultural and historical contexts. He makes a powerful case that to deter terrorists we must understand their psychology, and lays out a comprehensive strategy for countering their vicious forms of psychological warfare. Only by countering them at the level of their destructive mindsets can we more effectively compete in the 'war for hearts and minds.'"

- Richard H. Solomon, President, U.S. Institute of Peace

"Dr. Post has brought to the reader an extraordinary illumination of the terrorist mind. One comes away accepting the key premise - we are dealing with 'sane madmen.' His exposition of al-Qaeda, its leadership and its structure, are brilliant. The book is a powerhouse."

- Ambassador Sheldon J. Krys, former Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230612693
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 506,894
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jerrold M. Post is an internationally recognized expert on terrorist psychology and a professor of Psychiatry, Political Psychology & International Affairs at the George Washington University. He came to GW after a 21 year career with the Central Intelligence Agency, where in his role as Founding Director of the Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior he initiated the U.S. government research program on the psychology of terrorism in the late 1970s.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Terrorists and Terrorism * Part 1: When Hatred is Bred in the Bone: National-Separatist Terrorism

• Secular Palestinian Terrorism * The Irish and Basque * The Kurds and Tamils * Part 2: Rebellion against the Generation of their Parents: Social-Revolutionary Terrorism * European and North American Cases * Latin American Cases

Part 3: Killing in the Name of God: Religious Extremist Terrorism * Hezbollah and Hamas

• al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden

• Killing in the Name of Other Gods

Part 4: The Changing Face of Terrorism

• Global Jihad and Suicide Terrorism

• Weapons of Mass Destruction and Mass Disruption

• Challenges and Implications

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