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.
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