Dead for Good: Martyrdom and the Rise of the Suicide Bomber, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Dead for Good

Martyrdom and the Rise of the Suicide Bomber, 1st Edition

By Hugh D. Barlow

Routledge

248 pages

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pub: 2006-10-15
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Description

"An easily accessible account of the development of martyrdom …Barlow presents a masterful account of how religion, death and sacrifice developed into the cult of martyrdom of today." Mia Bloom, University of Georgia and author of Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror "Thoroughly researched, yet full of novel-like gripping narratives, this book succeeds in giving the reader a glimpse of what might happen in the mind of candidates to "martyrdom" while never loosing sight of the overall context that brings this phenomenon into being, and fuels it." Gilbert Achcar, author of The Clash of Barbarisms "Hugh Barlow is a gifted writer. In this book he uses his skills as a renowned sociologist to bring the reader a refreshing and engaging analysis…This is a must-read for anyone who is interested in understanding martyrdom operations from a broad historical and cultural perspective." Ami Pedahzur, University of Texas at Austin Dead for Good vividly describes how history gave rise to the suicide bombers of today. The passionate submission of ancient Jewish and Christian martyrs was largely supplanted by militant self-sacrifice as Islam spread and holy war erupted in the Crusades. In the Indian Punjab, the Khalsa Sikhs made warrior-martyrdom an instinct and policy in their defense of community and of justice. In a last-ditch effort to defeat the Allies in World War II, the Japanese transformed warrior-martyrs into martyr-warriors trained to sacrifice themselves in attacks on enemy carriers. The current suicide bomber is the latest phase: Whether motivated by nationalism, religious ideology, or a combination of both, the new "predatory" martyr dies for the cause while killing indiscriminately. Exploring martyrdom across cultures and throughout history, this book gives us new insights into today's suicide bombers and answers the common question "Why do they do it?"

Reviews

“An easily accessible account of the development of martyrdom, Dead for Good makes an important contribution to the history of religious violence. Reminicient of the work of Karen Armstrong and Elaine Pagels, Hugh Barlow presents a masterful account of how religion, death and sacrifice developed into the cult of martyrdom of today. Dead for Good traces the development of martyrdom from its earliest incarnation, presenting previously overlooked cases by including religiously motivated altrustic self sacrifice as well as the use of martyrdom for political purposes and for terrorism. A must read for people interested in the subject.”

—Mia Bloom, School of International Affairs, University of Georgia and author of Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror

“Hugh Barlow’s own fascination with voluntary “martyrdom” led him to take us on a fascinating journey, riding the time-machine from Socrates’ famous absorption of a cup of hemlock to present-day “suicide attacks” in the Middle East. Thoroughly researched, yet full of novel-like gripping narratives, this book succeeds in giving the reader a glimpse of what might happen in the mind of candidates to “martyrdom” while never loosing sight of the overall context that brings this phenomenon into being, and fuels it.”

- Gilbert Achcar, author of The Clash of Barbarisms

“Hugh Barlow is a gifted writer. In this book he uses his skills as a renowned sociologist to bring the reader a refreshing and engaging analysis of a phenomenon that has scared but at the same time fascinated the world for decades. This is a must-read for anyone who is interested in understanding martyrdom operations from a broad historical and cultural perspective.”

—Ami Pedahzur, The University of Texas at Austin, author of Suicide Terrorism

Table of Contents

Introduction Part I: The Martyrs of Antiquity 1. The Passionate Witness 2. "The Blood of Christians Is Seed" Part II. The Rise of the Warrior-Martyr: Muslims, Christians, Assassins, and Sikhs 3. The Spirit of Jihad 4. The Crusades, the Templars, and the Assassins 5. The Khalsa Sikhs and the "Game of Love" Part III. Martyr-Warriors: Japan's Kamikazes 6. The Divine Wind Part IV: The New Predatory Martyrs 7. The Black Tigers of Sri Lanka: Near-Predatory Martyrs 8. Dispersal and Occupation: A Festering Anger Haunts Palestinians 9. Intifada 10. Predatory Martyrs and the Rejection of Innocence 11. The Martyr's Smile 12. Some Thoughts on the Future of Martyrdom

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC026000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General