Terrorism: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $4.50
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 80%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (5) from $4.50   
  • New (2) from $20.10   
  • Used (3) from $4.50   


In counterterrorism circles, the standard response to questions about the possibility of future attacks is the terse one-liner "Not if, but when." This mantra supposedly conveys a no-nonsense approach to the problem, but, as Joseba Zulaika argues in Terrorism, it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. By distorting reality to fit their own worldview, the architects of the War on Terror prompt the behavior they seek to prevent-a twisted logic that has already played out horrifically in Iraq. In short, Zulaika contends, counter-terrorism has become pivotal in promoting terrorism.

Exploring the blind spots of counterterrorist doctrine, Zulaika takes readers on a remarkable intellectual journey. He contrasts the psychological insight of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood with The 9/11 Commission Report, plumbs the mindset of terrorists in works by Orianna Fallaci and Jean Genet, maps the continuities between the cold war and the fight against terrorism, and analyzes the case of a Basque terrorist who tried to return to civilian life. Zulaika's argument is powerful and inventive, packed with insights and ideas that provide a new and sophisticated perspective on the War on Terror.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Richard Jackson

“This is by far the best book on terrorism I have read for many years. In its systematic deconstruction of counterterrorism ideology and its call to take terrorist subjectivity seriously, this is a book of tremendous importance. Zulaika brings to the work several decades of in-depth research and understanding; he is clearly a scholar at the very height of his powers. Terrorism is incredibly rich in analysis and insight—I have no doubt that readers will be mining it for new ideas for many years to come.”
Jeffrey Sluka

“This is a brilliant book—a rich and insightful theoretical analysis. Zulaika presents an in-depth critical and cultural deconstruction of what terrorism means symbolically, how it is used in political discourse, and how it is applied by the U.S. government as a means of manufacturing consent for violent policies of counterterrorism. Terrorism ends with a powerful and compelling critique of the ‘war on terrorism,’ arguing for the ironic but unavoidable conclusion that it is fundamentally a self-fulfilling prophecy in which those fighting the war on terror are those who are responsible for creating it in the first place.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226994161
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseba Zulaika is professor of Basque studies and codirector of the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is the author or coauthor of many books, including Terror and Taboo: The Follies, Fables, and Faces of Terrorism.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments IX

Introduction: Rethinking the War on Terror 1

I The Rhetorics of Terrorism

Chapter 1 Writing Counterterrorism: The Betrayal of the Public Intellectual 17

Chapter 2 Who's Afraid of Truman Capote? Writers versus Counterterrorists 37

II Terrorist Subjectivities

Chapter 3 The Terrorist as Lover: Read My Terrorist Desire 63

Chapter 4 Eros, Terror, and Suicide: Life against Death 90

Chapter 5 Antigone, the Terrorist: The Passage à l'Acte That Traverses the Subject's Fantasy 108

III Self-Fulfilling Politics

Chapter 6 The Cold War Is Dead, Long Live Terrorism 131

Chapter 7 Dr. Strangelove Meets the Terrorist: On Political Madness 157

Chapter 8 9/11 and the Iraq War as Self-Fulfilling Prophecies 171

Epilogue The Passion for Ignorance and Its Catch-22 207

Notes 225

Index 259

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 & Noble.com 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 & Noble.com 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 & Noble.com 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 BN.com 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 & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com 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 BN.com. 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)