Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction (3rd edition)

ISBN : 9780198809098

Charles Townshend
176 ページ
111 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions



  • Discusses recent changes in terrorism, such as the emergence of ISIS and the upsurge in individual suicide action
  • Looks at the impact and consequences of several recentterrorist attacks, including those in Brussels, Paris, Nice, and Rouen
  • Answers the pertinent questions - What is terrorism? Is it war? Is democracy especially vulnerable to terrorist attacks? What can we do to stop it?
  • Explores the impact of increased terrorism on society, including debates surrounding the erosion of civil liberties
  • Discusses the issue of 'cyberterror'

Is one person's terrorist another's freedom fighter? Is terrorism crime or war? Can there be a 'War on Terror'? 

For many, the terrorist attacks of September 2001 changed the face of the world, pushing terrorism to the top of political agendas, and leading to a series of world events including the war in Iraq and the invasion of Afghanistan. The recent terror attacks in various European cities have shown that terrorism remains a crucial issue today. Charting a clear path through the efforts to understand and explain modern terrorism, Charles Townshend examines the historical, ideological, and local roots of terrorist violence.

Starting from the question of why terrorists find it so easy to seize public attention, this new edition analyses the emergence of terrorism as a political strategy, and discusses the objectives which have been pursued by users of this strategy from French revolutionaries to Islamic jihadists. Considering the kinds of groups and individuals who adopt terrorism, Townshend discusses the emergence of ISIS and the upsurge in individual suicide action, and explores the issues involved in finding a proportionate response to the threat they present, particularly by liberal democratic societies. Analysing the growing use of knives and other edged weapons in attacks, and the issue of 'cyberterror', Townshend details the use of counterterrorist measures, from control orders to drone strikes, including the Belgian and French responses to the Brussels, Paris, Nice, and Rouen attacks.
"A brilliant and incisive analysis of a major subject." - Richard English, Author of Does Terrorism Work? A History


1: The trouble with terrorism
2: Crusaders and conspirators
3: The reign of terror
4: Revolutionary terrorism
5: Nationalism and terror
6: Religious terror
7: Countering terrorism
Further Reading


Charles Townshend is Emeritus Professor of International History at Keele University. He has held fellowships at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina and the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC. His most recent books are Easter 1916: the Irish rebellion (2005), When God Made Hell: the British Invasion of Mesopotamia and the Creation of Iraq, 1914-1921 (2010), Desert hell: the British invasion of Mesopotamia (2011), and The Republic: the fight for Irish independence, 1918-1923 (2013).