Andrewh's Reviews > Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists

Talking to the Enemy by Scott Atran
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's review
Apr 28, 12

Read from March 31 to April 28, 2012

This book takes a different tack from most mainstream terrorim studies works, in that the author actually talks to the people involved in militant activity, which entails going into the communities themselves (in Indonesia, Morocco, Palestine) whence the suicide bombers and other militants emerged, in order to understand better the motives and reasons for such their actions. Atran is a social anthropologist and his takes the view that terrorist actions can only be understood by looking at the social networks that create and enable them, and his on-the-ground research is very interesting and revealing, although does not, as the title suggests, really give us much hope of 'unmaking' terrorists, only understanding them more. Although, as he points out, the threat of the global organisation called Al Qaeda is now largely diminished, there is now a much more diffuse and frgamented 'movement' to contend with, which is much harder to combat with the large-scale military force favoured by the US.

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