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My Life Is a Weapon: A Modern History of Suicide Bombing

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My Life Is a Weapon: A Modern History of Suicide Bombing Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

What kind of people are suicide bombers? How do they justify their actions? In this meticulously researched and sensitively written book, journalist Christoph Reuter argues that popular views of these young men and women--as crazed fanatics or brainwashed automatons--fall short of the mark. In many cases these modern-day martyrs are well-educated young adults who turn themselves into human bombs willingly and eagerly--to exact revenge on a more powerful enemy, perceived as both unjust and oppressive. Suicide assassins are determined to make a difference, for once in their lives, no matter what the cost. As Reuter's many interviews with would-be martyrs, their trainers, friends, and relatives reveal, the bombers are motivated more by how they expect to be remembered--as heroic figures--than by religion-infused visions of a blissful life to come.

Reuter, who spent eight years researching the book, moves from the broken survivors of the childrens' suicide brigades in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, to the war-torn Lebanon of Hezbollah, to Israeli-occupied Palestinian land, and to regions as disparate as Sri Lanka, Chechnya, and Kurdistan. He tells a disturbing story of the modern globalization of suicide bombing--orchestrated, as his own investigations have helped to establish, by the shadowy Al Qaeda network and unintentionally enabled by wrong-headed policies of Western governments. In a final, hopeful chapter, Reuter points to today's postrevolutionary, post-Khomeini Iran, where a new social environment renounces the horrific practice in the very place where it was enthusiastically embraced just decades ago.

Synopsis:

"Christoph Reuter's modern history of suicide bombing helps put today's headlines into context. As Reuter's assessment makes clear, suicide killers are not irrational fanatics, but cost-effective weapons employed by rational organizations. Reuter traveled around the world to talk with 'martyr's' families and their tutors, reporting what he found in lucid, often moving prose. The world would be a far safer place if our leaders were to heed his wise words of advice."--Jessica Stern, author of Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill

"This engaging book brings us face to face with scores of determined activists who kill and die for God. Yet it is more than a series of portraits. This thoughtful study reflects on the social contexts and historical moments that give rise to such extremes, and calls for a tempered world view that would reduce the frequency of such tragic, lethal acts. There is nothing quite like it."--Mark Juergensmeyer, author of Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence

"Christoph Reuter's new study makes an important contribution to the growing field of suicide terrorism. Many readers will benefit from his comprehensive coverage of the historical record of both Islamic and non-Islamic cases."--Robert Pape, University of Chicago

Synopsis:

What kind of people are suicide bombers? How do they justify their actions? In this meticulously researched and sensitively written book, journalist Christoph Reuter argues that popular views of these young men and women--as crazed fanatics or brainwashed automatons--fall short of the mark. In many cases these modern-day martyrs are well-educated young adults who turn themselves into human bombs willingly and eagerly--to exact revenge on a more powerful enemy, perceived as both unjust and oppressive. Suicide assassins are determined to make a difference, for once in their lives, no matter what the cost. As Reuter's many interviews with would-be martyrs, their trainers, friends, and relatives reveal, the bombers are motivated more by how they expect to be remembered--as heroic figures--than by religion-infused visions of a blissful life to come.

Reuter, who spent eight years researching the book, moves from the broken survivors of the childrens' suicide brigades in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, to the war-torn Lebanon of Hezbollah, to Israeli-occupied Palestinian land, and to regions as disparate as Sri Lanka, Chechnya, and Kurdistan. He tells a disturbing story of the modern globalization of suicide bombing--orchestrated, as his own investigations have helped to establish, by the shadowy Al Qaeda network and unintentionally enabled by wrong-headed policies of Western governments. In a final, hopeful chapter, Reuter points to today's postrevolutionary, post-Khomeini Iran, where a new social environment renounces the horrific practice in the very place where it was enthusiastically embraced just decades ago.

About the Author

Christoph Reuter is a reporter and international correspondent for the German magazine "Stern".

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

The Power of the Powerless, the Powerlessness of the Powerful 1

CHAPTER 1 The Original Assassins: A History of Faith and Power in the Islamic World 19

CHAPTER 2 A Key to Paradise around Their Necks: Iran's Suicide Battalions 33

CHAPTER 3 The Marketing Strategists of Martyrdom: Hezbollah in Lebanon 52

CHAPTER 4 Israel and Palestine: The Culture of Death 79

CHAPTER 5 Suicide or Martyrdom? Modern Islam and the Feud of the Fatwas 115

CHAPTER 6 Bushido Replaces Allahu akbar: The Japanese Kamikaze 130

CHAPTER 7 The Parasites of Anger: Al-Qaeda and the Islamist Internationale 139

CHAPTER 8 Separatist Movements and Female Suicide Bombers: The Cases of Sri Lanka and Kurdistan 155

CHAPTER 9 After Martyrdom: Recent Developments in Iran 167

Notes 181

Index 195

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691126159
Author:
Reuter, Christoph
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Translator:
Ragg-Kirby, Helena
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
Political History
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Terrorism
Subject:
Islamic Studies
Subject:
Middle Eastern Studies
Subject:
Political Science and International Relations
Subject:
Sociology
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Islam
Subject:
Violence
Subject:
Islam and politics
Subject:
Arab-Israeli conflict
Subject:
Politics - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
March 2006
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 11 oz

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » Terrorism Mercenaries and Guerrillas
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Peace and War
History and Social Science » Sociology » Islamic Studies

My Life Is a Weapon: A Modern History of Suicide Bombing New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$29.75 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691126159 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "Christoph Reuter's modern history of suicide bombing helps put today's headlines into context. As Reuter's assessment makes clear, suicide killers are not irrational fanatics, but cost-effective weapons employed by rational organizations. Reuter traveled around the world to talk with 'martyr's' families and their tutors, reporting what he found in lucid, often moving prose. The world would be a far safer place if our leaders were to heed his wise words of advice."--Jessica Stern, author of Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill

"This engaging book brings us face to face with scores of determined activists who kill and die for God. Yet it is more than a series of portraits. This thoughtful study reflects on the social contexts and historical moments that give rise to such extremes, and calls for a tempered world view that would reduce the frequency of such tragic, lethal acts. There is nothing quite like it."--Mark Juergensmeyer, author of Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence

"Christoph Reuter's new study makes an important contribution to the growing field of suicide terrorism. Many readers will benefit from his comprehensive coverage of the historical record of both Islamic and non-Islamic cases."--Robert Pape, University of Chicago

"Synopsis" by , What kind of people are suicide bombers? How do they justify their actions? In this meticulously researched and sensitively written book, journalist Christoph Reuter argues that popular views of these young men and women--as crazed fanatics or brainwashed automatons--fall short of the mark. In many cases these modern-day martyrs are well-educated young adults who turn themselves into human bombs willingly and eagerly--to exact revenge on a more powerful enemy, perceived as both unjust and oppressive. Suicide assassins are determined to make a difference, for once in their lives, no matter what the cost. As Reuter's many interviews with would-be martyrs, their trainers, friends, and relatives reveal, the bombers are motivated more by how they expect to be remembered--as heroic figures--than by religion-infused visions of a blissful life to come.

Reuter, who spent eight years researching the book, moves from the broken survivors of the childrens' suicide brigades in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, to the war-torn Lebanon of Hezbollah, to Israeli-occupied Palestinian land, and to regions as disparate as Sri Lanka, Chechnya, and Kurdistan. He tells a disturbing story of the modern globalization of suicide bombing--orchestrated, as his own investigations have helped to establish, by the shadowy Al Qaeda network and unintentionally enabled by wrong-headed policies of Western governments. In a final, hopeful chapter, Reuter points to today's postrevolutionary, post-Khomeini Iran, where a new social environment renounces the horrific practice in the very place where it was enthusiastically embraced just decades ago.

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