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Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism
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Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  376 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Suicide terrorism is rising around the world, but there is great confusion as to why. In this paradigm-shifting analysis, University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape has collected groundbreaking evidence to explain the strategic, social, and individual factors responsible for this growing threat.

One of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject, Professor Pa
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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 24th 2005 by Random House (first published January 1st 2005)
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Steven Peterson
Robert Pape's study is an important contribution to our understanding of suicide terrorism. He explores the recent evolution and deployment of suicide terrorism as a political tactic.

Some key points: Islamic terrorism is not the only exemplar of suicide terrorism; much suicide terrorism has "popular" support; suicide terrorism is often aimed at forcing occupying forces--especially democracies--to leave the territory that terrorists consider their home territory; perhaps most controversial, suic
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Dave
I first of heard of this book by way of the immutable Scott Horton at antiwar.com/radio / http://www.kaosradioaustin.org/statio...

When I realized that Ron Paul used it as a primary source when he countered the ridiculous claims by Rudy Guiliani that "they hate us for our freedoms" and over-used anti-logic about Islamic fundamentalism.

Well researched and well presented prose details a picture that many of glaze over in the haze of media propaganda. I had some disagreement with the final chapter
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Shiloh H
This is something I thing everyone should read in light of the events on and following 9/11

This idea that somehow the attacks were motivated simply by religious indoctrination is both a flawed and dangerous idea. It's easy for someone like Bin Laden to have won over poor and abused people using God or Allah as a scale tipper, but the real reason are strictly political and territorial in nature.

This book explain this in a clear and concise, a fairly readable format. If you don't "get it" after r
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Chuck
Robert A Pape's "Dying to Win" discusses suicide terrorism.

It comprises two major parts. First is a rigorous and fairly complete statistical study of suicide terror attacks during the period from 1980's through 2003. (The book was published in 2005.) Second is an analysis of the data.

I have mixed feelings about the book.

I am impressed with and appreciative of the statistical study. I feel that it, while probably missing some elements, does significantly advance our understanding of the phenome
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Nick
This book examines the known facts about suicide terrorism, using data about suicide bombers ages, social class, education and motivation. Pape offers convincing evidence that suicide bombers are not, as a rule, motivated by desperate personal circumstances but by military or economic occupation or domination of their territory. An excellent read, and a must-read book if we want to truly deal with terrorism.
Jason
Apr 04, 2007 Jason rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody who's going to start talking to me about terrorism.
Suicide terrorists are not mostly Muslim, and they don't all do it because of religious reasons. Rather, the motives are more nationalistic and sophisticated than we think, and are often part of a larger campaign. Fascinating and accurate account of every single known suicide bombing attack in recent history and their effect on society. It's hard being the only one to have read this book.
Qingxun
Great points and perspectives presented. Would love to see an updated version of the book in light of events since 2003.

However, I do not agree with some conclusions and inferences made in the book. Data collection method is also somewhat iffy, but I guess it cannot be helped since there is a limited pool of suicide terrorists to study.

Even with the above issues, the book is worth a read as an introductory alternative to the mainstream understanding of suicide terrorism.

Also, I really appreciate
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Patrick
Does anyone else feel like the episode of South Park satirizing Jersey Shore was using the logic presented in Pape's book?
Anoud
This is one of the books I am having a difficulty writing a review about as the matter at hand along with the author’s handling are quite complex.

The book is based on a database created by Robert Pape and his team which tackled data on all suicide terrorism (as he puts it) incidents spanning from 1980 to 2003.
With his iconoclastic findings, Pape challenges the conventional assumptions around the causes and motives behind suicide attacks.
Plainly put, his main argument is that terrorists use suici
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Rick
An academic analysis of the data of post-1983 suicide terrorist attacks, Dying to Win uncovers several crucial inaccurate assumptions about the backgrounds, motives, and support for suicide terrorists, including that it is a strategy confined to Islamist fanatics. Hezbollah is the founding organization for the modern version of this tactic and its effective use of it in Lebanon in 1983, when Reagan cut and ran after announcing we wouldn’t in the wake of the Marine barracks attack and Israel with ...more
James
This book very clearly describes the causes and nature of suicide terrorism: namely, that it is mainly a response to foreign occupation. Specifically, "nationalist rebellion and religious difference between rebels and a dominant democratic state are the main conditions under which the foreign occupation of a community's homeland is likely to lead to a campaign of suicide terrorism as part of a national liberation strategy." Moreover, the majority of suicide terrorists are typically older secular ...more
Sean Rosenthal
Interesting Quote:

The close association between foreign military occupations and the growth of suicide terrorist movements in the occupied regions should make us hesitate over any strategy centering on the transformation of Muslim societies by means of heavy military power...we should recognize that the sustained presence of heavy American combat forces in Muslim countries is likely to INCREASE the odds of the next 9/11."

-Robert Pape, Dying to Win


"American military policy in the Persian Gulf was
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affad
So far its slow because the begining chapters just keep repeating this thing over and over again.

However, I am astonished. For some reason, I thought i had spent my entire childhood with this "suicide bombing" in exisistence, however, this book points out that the first such bombing to happen by Hamas was in 1994 which is crazy!

I thought they had been doing it since forever, I am understanding that something strategically changed on the ground for these people to resort to such violent and dest
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Dustin Schroer
Interesting theory that I whole heartedly believe but as others have said, highly repetitive. Also, he constantly uses "statistics" that are very ineffectual or boring. So many times I skipped a section that is statistics heavy mostly because the sample size is so small to make even the most educated guess irrelevant.
I would immensely love for the author to write an update with the last 12 years included and its effect on his thesis.
Nicola
Initially, Dying to Win seemed fascinating, and I still think its central thesis -- that suicide terrorism shouldn't be thought of as "a religious thing", but rather as something carried out for nationalistic reasons -- is thought-provoking.

However, the book quickly became incredibly repetitive, to the extent that I began to wonder if Robert Pape had enough material to warrant a whole book on this subject.
John Rivera
Great work and a good overall study of the topic which I was happy to see covered more than simply the provincial view who terrorists are. This work provides a history of suicide terrorism and a detailed study of all groups presently doing so. I think the work could have used some stronger arguments, but if one is reading this work along with other works, the information found in here is extremely useful.
Cate
Jun 21, 2007 Cate rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: college
A look at suicide terrorism around the world. Pape attempts a very scientific, unemotional approach to suicide terrorism based on suicide bombing statistics that he has compiled. The information presented is interesting and can be surprising, but the book gets repetitive at times. Some might not like his emotional detachment from suicide terrorists and their victims.
Dani
Jan 08, 2008 Dani is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kelly
So far, more evidence that we don't get attacked because they hate our freedom, but because we occupy their territories. Other suicide campaigns around the world do the same to their occupiers. As of 2003, the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka carry out the most suicide bombings. Interesting question, "Were the Kamikazi's of Japan terrorists?"
Jared
A significant econometric analysis of suicide terrorism. Comes to some very interesting conclusions. I dont agree with Pape's conceptual argument surrounding the quantitative research, I feel that it can be supplemented and explained in a better way, it is still a very good read and has a lot of explanatory powers.
Snowdon
a view into suicide terrorism, its hisory, and the groups and motivations into those who use it as a weapon. surprisingly, it seems that nationalism, not religion, plays the biggest part in motivation. religion is used as and indoctrinating force, but is not the underlying reasoning for it.
Wes
Fascinating statistical analysis of suicide bombers. Pape concludes that suicide bombers are not irrational zealots, but strategic thinkers for a cause...and that their strategy has in fact been successful.
Sarah
A groundbreaking demographic profile of modern suicide terrorist attackers that serves as a needed counterpoint to the conventional identification process. Fact-based, not at all politically motivated.
Warren Olson
An interesting book and concepts on suicide bombers. Perhaps a little quickly dated, as it states Tamil Tigers as the main proponents of this method of protest - but still gives some good insight.
Bologna_frog
recommended by fringe-ology. maybe skim to see how religion does not have the market on killing. Tamil tigers suicide bomb. Mao and Stalin killed millions with no religious reason.
sologdin
cool reading of suicide "terrorism" in the context of suicide military missions. notes significantly that the US has at least 20 different legal definitions of "terrorism."
Steven
Good insight into the evolving tactic of suicide bombers. Started with Tamil Tigers not in the Middle East, which shows terror groups learn and evolve.
Rtwriter
enlightening read, particularly for those with a lean historical knowledge of world politics. occasionally redundant, but backed by solid research and facts.
Ashley
I've read about half of this text book as well, and it really makes you think. There is some great information in here, and some good ideas.
Devin
Professor's crackpot theory on the origins of terrorism (blaming their victims) that holds no water.
John
A must read for anyone concerned about or interested in the War on Terror
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