By Clifford E. Simonsen and Jeremy R. Spindlove; published by Prentice-Hall, Inc., 800/282-0693 (phone), 800/835-5327 (fax); 344 pages; $47.
As Walt Kelley's sagacious comic strip character Pogo says, "Predicting stuff is difficult, especially when it's about the future." So begins the last chapter of Terrorism Today, and the authors of that book bear out the aphorism: while they do a fine job in describing the state of terrorism today, they might have done more to divine what will occur in the next 25 years.
The authors have intended the book both as a student text and as a reference work for practitioners. It discusses the history and evolution of terrorism, terrorism around the world, and counter-terrorism; the progression is logical and ordered. Sidebar entries are called "Terrorism Bytes," "Terrorism Briefs," and "Terrorism Players." They illuminate the text and add style, enhancing the work's readability, as do the plentiful photographs and interesting page layouts. Each chapter ends with a summary, terms to remember, review questions, and endnotes, the latter providing a roadmap to authoritative and accessible resources.
Terrorism Today uses a multidisciplinary approach to the study of terrorism and its various causes, effects, philosophies, and groups, and its evolution. Perspectives of history, religion, political science, and criminology are discussed. One theme emphasized in the book is that terrorism is a crime and should be dealt with as such. This sounds simplistic, but often terrorism is endowed with a surreal, mythical status that doesn't present a realistic evaluation of the issue. …