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.
It’s hard to remember when in the midst of one, but terrorism campaigns do always end. Audrey Kurth Cronin, author of How Terrorism Ends, recommends the best books on terrorism.
Terrorism is a misused, overused term. Correctly used, it refers to a specific form of asymmetric warfare. The Northern Ireland peace negotiator tells us how and why it starts and what can end it.
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
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.
The Professor of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins University picks five books you must read to understand the War on Terror, starting with one that tries to define what terrorism is.
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.
The neoconservative view that the US has a special mission in the world was supercharged by 9/11. There was also a sense that 9/11 could make America better. Sadly it didn’t work out that way, says Peter Beinart
Jason Burke, journalist and author of an acclaimed book on Al-Qaeda, tells us what he learnt about militants when he was caught in a firefight in Iraq—and suggests five books we should read to understand their motivations.
The veteran Middle East correspondent gives us his tips for the best reading about the US-led invasion and occupation, and explains why the West shouldn’t have intervened in Iraq in the first place
The award-winning BBC documentary maker Peter Taylor tells us what he learned in his ten years investigating Al-Qaeda, and suggests what we should read to understand where the group came from, and what it’s still trying to do
The former FBI Chief Negotiator says that negotiators need to come across as non-threatening and non-judgmental. And active listening isn’t just something you use in a hostage situation; it’s important in everyday life, too
Princeton professor Bernard Haykel’s fascinating selection of books paints a worrying picture of a country at odds with the cultural riches of its past. With internal conflicts and poor governance, Al Qaeda is the least of its problems.
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.
Global security consultant says sending armed forces into another country based on purely moral, gut feelings of good and evil is a dangerous policy-making premise. He chooses books on Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and Al Qaeda
Lindsay Porter, author and cultural historian who has published widely on conspiracy theories, discusses five books on the different concepts of politically motivated killing and asks whether assassination can ever be justified
Director of Landmine Action who served in British army with the Black Watch, talks crime and terror and explores the extent to which al Qaeda is the creation of the Pakistani Intelligence Services backed by Saudi money
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.
History of the French Revolution
by Jules Michelet
The French Revolution
by Hippolyte Taine
Democracy in America
by Alexis de Tocqueville
Reflections on the Revolution in France
by Edmund Burke
The Complete Essays of Montaigne
Michel de Montaigne (trans. by Donald M. Frame)
by Niccolo Machiavelli
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.