Archive for the ‘Terrorism and Political Violence’ Category

Another book review, this time for Terrorism and Political Violence about a short book on Lone Wolf terrorism written by Ramón Spaaij. Unfortunately, it is again behind a firewall so I cannot just post it here, but I will ask. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line if you have any queries, and I would recommend having a look at the Taylor and Francis page for the review, as a chunk of it is caught in a screenshot there.

Ramón Spaaij. Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism: Global Patterns, Motivations and Prevention


Another book review for Terrorism and Political Violence journal, this time about Camille Tawil’s excellent “Brothers in Arms: The Story of al-Qa’ida and the Arab Jihadists.” The book looks at the evolution of the various Arab groups that evolved out of the war in Afghanistan against the Soviets and later melded with al Qaeda in the 1990s. Rich in entertaining anecdotes and interviews with primary players, the book offers a detailed view on the trials and tribulations of the Egyptian, Libyan, Algerian, Syrian and other factions as they tried to first bring jihad back to their nations after Afghanistan and then became part of the community of itinerant holy warriors that became one of the backbones of al Qaeda. It is particularly interesting to read about Ayman al Zawahiri in this context, as you get a sense of his leadership skills and capabilities suggesting a drop in al Qaeda core’s capability now that Osama is dead.

The review is, unfortunately, behind a firewall. But if you reach out, I may be able to help you get a copy.

Another book review in the same edition of Terrorism and Political Violence, this time I see that I am one of two reviewers of the book “Ethnic Identity and National Conflict in China” which looks at the subject of Islamist radicalisation in China. It was interesting and on an undercovered subject which I have tried to research on while I am here, but with great difficulty. They provide a pretty detailed overview of events so far. I also had the pleasure of meeting a couple of authors last year in Singapore and they had some interesting insights. I know of a couple of other books in the pipeline on this topic, so am looking forward to reading more about it, and hopefully contributing myself at some point. It seems to me that China has got an interesting problem with violent radicalisation, though it is equally unclear given the almost blanket hiding of any coverage about it, how much is actually going on and how much is merely a noise. A very confusing vision.

Similar to the last one, unfortunately, this is also behind a firewall and I am going to ask if I can republish it here.

UPDATE: I see the authors have created a website where they have posted the full text.

I have a couple of book reviews in the latest Terrorism and Political Violence journal. They seem to enjoy my reviews and I greatly enjoy reading, especially for a purpose like this. I have a few more in the pipeline. This first one looks at a book published in the UK called “Ricin!” by the former jury foreman and a journalist which focuses on the disrupted ricin plot from 2003. It was a very useful book from the perspective of understanding a specific plot better, though parts of its conclusions seem a little skewed. Some interesting insights into the Algerian community in London and the legal contortions that had to be gone into in this case. It also gives detail on the information that the Algerians passed on to the Brits when they picked up one of the Algerians who had run away from the UK. Quite a messy pile of intel by the looks of it and none of which was obtained using polite questions.

Unfortunately, the review can only be found behind a firewall here. I am asking the publisher if I can place it here, but in the meantime feel free to write if you are specifically interested.

Another book review in Terrorism and Political Violence Journal, this time looking at Alison Pargeter’s The New Frontiers of Jihad: Radical Islam in Europe, an interesting and ambitious book which attempts to give a recent history to jihadism in all of Europe. Maybe it focuses a bit too much on the disaffection narrative, but a valuable piece of work.

The review is, I’m afraid, behind a firewall. However, for those with institutional access it can be found here.  I am actually in the process of trying to restore my institutional access, so anyone who reads this and has a password they are willing to share with me, it would be hugely appreciated!

I have a book review in the latest issue of the Terrorism and Political Violence journal covering Stephen Grey’s fascinating and detailed book Ghost Plane. It is behind a firewall so I cannot simply post it, but as usual if you get in touch I can help out getting a copy probably..

The book is worth a read, and has stood the test of time thus far. It will be interesting to see if someone does an update of this story confirming whether it has been discontinued or is still going on. Any pointers for stories out there greatly appreciated!

The review can be found here: