Our coverage of terrorism is focused mainly on the current “war on terrorism” and the lead up to, and fallout from, 9/11. However, we do have some interviews that take a more general approach. John (Lord) Alderdice, the former Northern Ireland politician, who helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement chooses his best books on the psychology of terrorism. Simon Conway, the writer and former British Army officer, in his best books on crime and terror puts global terrorism in its broader political and economic context.
Yosri Fouda choses his best books on 9/11. Peter Bergen chooses the best books on Osama bin Laden and Jason Burke chooses the best books on Islamic militancy. The BBC’s Peter Taylor chooses his best books on Al Qaeda.
A number of interviews are focused on the post-9/11 world. The academic and journalist Peter Beinart recommends the best books on post-9/11 America and Mary Habeck's best books on terrorism are devoted to exploring the war on terror. Patrick Cockburn chooses his best books on the Iraq War and Hugh Gusterson looks at drone warfare.
If you’re looking for one book to understand the origins of Al-Qaeda and the lead-up to 9/11, the most recommended and much praised book among these interviews is The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright, for which he won a Pulitzer prize.
A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam
by Neil Sheehan
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster
by Jon Krakauer
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital
by Sheri Fink
The Hot Zone: The Chilling True Story of an Ebola Outbreak
by Richard Preston
by Amy Waldman
National security isn’t just about foreign policy and counterterrorism, but has a broad set of concerns—including climate change, national disasters and pandemics. Juliette Kayyem, Senior Lecturer in International Security at Harvard and author of Security Mom, recommends books to get us all thinking about national security and the challenges we face.
The introduction of drones “makes possible perpetual war without costs”, warns the anthropology professor and security expert Hugh Gusterson. Here he selects the best books that examine their ethical, psychological and political impact upon 21st century warfare.
Many thought that 9/11 was the start of an Al-Qaeda assault on the West, but it turned out to be Bin Laden’s Pearl Harbor – a victory that led to strategic defeat – says Peter Bergen, one of the few reporters who met the Saudi-born militant.
International terror expert Jessica Stern takes a close look at the mind of the terrorist. She explores why people are drawn to extreme violence and how, in many cases, terrorists can build their identities around ideologies that they hold in an ultimately shallow way
Who was Osama bin Laden? How critical was he to the 9/11 attacks on the United States? What happened in the first 100 days at Guantanamo Bay? Who was in charge of the United States when George W Bush went into hiding? What should we make of all the conspiracy theories that have sprung up around the events of that day? Yosri Fouda, the veteran Egyptian investigative reporter, author and TV host talks us through his choice of the best books on 9/11.
For anybody wanting to go into politics a mastery of the French Revolution is an enormous help and a knowledge of history essential, says Peregrine Worsthorne, the columnist and former editor of Britain’s Sunday Telegraph. He recommends the best books on the French Revolution, both for and against.