“It’s a book that is written to be very accessible to the layman. Alan Krueger’s book is actually based on three Robbins Memorial lectures that he gave at London School of Economics in 2006. This little volume is written to be very understandable but it is also full of statistics and good hard data about what motivates and causes terrorism.
In addition to his own research, Krueger summarises studies done by others, but he delivers a wide-ranging probe of misperceptions about the causes of terrorism. Krueger pulls apart a range of statistics on public opinion, distribution of violence, wealth, education, and socio-economic backgrounds of operatives, and shoots down the received wisdom of many pundits. There are a lot of little nuggets of wisdom here. For example, he shows that neither poverty nor lack of education causes terrorism. Lower-class members are too busy trying to survive to be interested in ideologically-motivated violence. The data indicate that most terrorists actually come from relatively better off, well educated families. Krueger also points out that most terrorism is local. Data indicate that it is not the North-South or East-West violence that many people think it is: most of those engaging in terrorist attacks are killing their neighbours, not travelling across oceans or even borders to attack others. In short, this is a very good, readable book that uses hard data to shoot down common myths about the origins of terrorism.”—Audrey Kurth Cronin