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Understanding Terrorism

Understanding Terrorism
Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues

Eighth Edition
  • Gus Martin - California State University, Dominguez Hills, USA

July 2024 | 696 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues offers a multidisciplinary, comprehensive exploration of domestic and international terrorism that helps students develop the knowledge and skills needed to critically assess the expressions and underlying causes of terrorism. Martin explores theory and provides in-depth analysis in an accessible, engaging manner that helps readers develop the knowledge and skills they need to engage meaningfully with this robust course. 

Part I • Terrorism: A Conceptual Review
Chapter 1 • Terrorism: First Impressions
Chapter 2 • The Nature of the Beast: Defining Terrorism
Chapter 3 • Beginnings: The Causes of Terrorism
Part II • Terrorist Environments and Typologies
Chapter 4 • Terror From Above: Terrorism by the State
Chapter 5 • Terror From Below: Terrorism by Dissidents
Chapter 6 • Violence in the Name of the Faith: Religious Terrorism
Chapter 7 • Violent Ideologies: Terrorism From the Left and Right
Chapter 8 • Terrorist Spillovers: International Terrorism
Chapter 9 • Emerging Terrorist Environments: Gender-Selective Political Violence and Criminal Dissident Terrorism
Part III • The Terrorist Trade and Counterterrorism
Chapter 10 • Tools of the Trade: Tactics and Targets of Terrorists
Chapter 11 • The Information Battleground: Terrorist Violence and the Role of the Media
Chapter 12 • The American Case: Terrorism in the United States
Chapter 13 • Counterterrorism: The Options
Part IV • Securing the Homeland
Chapter 14 • A New Era: Homeland Security
Chapter 15 • What Next? The Future of Terrorism
Appendix A: Map References
Appendix B: Prominent Persons and Organizations
Appendix C: Two Thousand Years of Terror—Historical Examples
Glossary of Terms
Key features
  • A new introduction to nationalism and sociological explanations of terrorism explains the importance of understanding nationalist sentiment as a reason for political violence.
  • Expanded discussions include nationalism activism, scapegoating tactics, and the use of social media by terrorist networks.
  • New examinations cover asymmetrical warfare, characteristics of right-wing terrorists and the terrorist right in the new era, and terrorist attacks against the United States.
  • New movements are added, including Boko Haram’s use of child soldiers and female suicide bombers, radical socialism, the use of gender-selective terrorism within ISIS, and stochastic terrorism.
  • Contemporary events are added, including the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, and 2019 Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka.
  • A new introduction to historical perspectives on terrorism clarifies the historical scope of violence.
  • Chapter objectives are summarized at the beginning of each discussion using Bloom’s taxonomy.
  • Updated tables and figures are introduced and discussed within the body of the text, creating a deeper understanding of concepts for students.


  • Opening Viewpoints boxes grab readers’ attention by presenting relevant examples of theories and themes discussed in the upcoming chapter.
  • Chapters incorporate focused presentations in special interest boxes that explore people, events, organizations, and movements that are relevant to the content.
  • Each chapter concludes with Discussion Boxes that highlight controversial issues and pose challenging questions to stimulate critical thinking and debate.
  • A variety of photos, charts, graphs, and maps help students appreciate and understand the events and people covered in the book.

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