A new handbook providing a comprehensive guide to terrorism and counterterrorism worldwide will tackle myths and raise understanding of the realities of both subjects, according to the academic behind the project.

The 694-page Routledge Handbook of Terrorism and Counterterrorism seeks to provide an overview of current knowledge and debate, and set a benchmark for further research. As well as being used by students studying the topics, it is hoped that the book will become a reference resource for researchers and those working in policy in both areas.

Professor Andrew Silke, Professor of Terrorism, Risk and Resilience at Cranfield University, edited the book. He said: “If you look back over the past 50 years, terrorism is something that has always been with us, and has always been a serious issue. But one of the biggest challenges of working in this area is that there are a lot of myths; people think they know what causes it and what the appropriate responses should be. Even in counterterrorism policy circles, there can be a lot of misunderstandings about – for example – what causes terrorism, and a lot of faulty assumptions around what will work when trying to counter it.

“Books like this that are aimed at raising understanding and tackling some of these myths are very important. The individuals who have contributed to the book are among the best and brightest people working on terrorism and counterterrorism out there, and the insights they bring are enormous.”

The first section of the book covers the history of terrorism, its causes and characteristics, major tactics and strategies, major trends and critical contemporary issues such as radicalisation and cyber-terrorism, and includes detailed case studies on groups including the IRA, Hamas and Islamic State.

The second section draws on the main themes and critical issues surrounding counterterrorism, covering the major strategies and policies, key events and trends, and the impact and effectiveness of different approaches. It also includes case studies focusing on major counterterrorism campaigns.

“As a threat to society, terrorism will be with us for the foreseeable future,” Professor Silke continued. “We might see a change in where the threats are coming from, or in the types of groups, but terrorism overall has been around a very long time and looks set to continue. Perhaps the most worrying thing about it is this longevity. Even if you resolve a conflict in one region, others break out elsewhere. It is a little bit like crime – we don’t seem to be able to completely eliminate it, and I don’t think we will; certainly not in my lifetime.”

Copies of the Routledge handbook of Terrorism and Counterterrorism
The Routledge Handbook of Terrorism and Counterterrorism

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