Terrorism and Counterterrorism  book cover
6th Edition

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

ISBN 9781138317635
Published March 6, 2019 by Routledge
448 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Focusing on the phenomenon of terrorism in the age of ISIS/ISIL, Terrorism and Counterterrorism investigates this form of political violence in an international and American context and in light of new and historical trends. In this comprehensive and highly readable text, renowned expert Brigitte Nacos clearly defines terrorism’s diverse causes, actors, and strategies; outlines anti- and counterterrorist responses; and highlights terrorism’s relationship with the public and media. Terrorism and Counterterrorism introduces students to the field’s main debates and helps them critically assess our understanding of, and our strategies for, addressing this complex and enduring issue.

New to the Sixth Edition:

  • Additions to terrorist developments since 2016, including the rise and decline of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
  • A significant expansion of the analysis of intelligence gathering and the growth of the U.S. intelligence community in the post-9/11 era.
  • Discussion of increasing activities of extremist groups in the so-called alt-right and the ANTIFA movement in the U.S. and abroad.
  • More explanations for the making of terrorists, including rational choice theory and new research revealing childhood trauma as a risk factor.
  • An enlarged chapter on women and children in terrorism to include suicide missions as family projects.
  • A new section on human rights violations in counterterrorism.

Table of Contents


CHAPTER 1: Introduction: The Terrorist Threat

PART I: Terrorism

CHAPTER 2: The Perennial Debate: What Is Terrorism?

CHAPTER 3: Terrorism in the Global Context

CHAPTER 4: Terrorism in the American Context

CHAPTER 5: Religious Terrorism: Political Violence in the Name of God

CHAPTER 6: The Making of Terrorists: Causes, Conditions, Influences

CHAPTER 7: Women, Children, and Terrorism

CHAPTER 8: Common Threads: Goals, Targets, and Tactics

CHAPTER 9: Organizational Structures and the Financing of Terror

PART II: Counterterrorism

CHAPTER 10: Terrorism and America’s Post-9/11 National Security Strategy

CHAPTER 11: The Utility of Hard and Soft Power in Counterterrorism

CHAPTER 12: Balancing Security, Liberty, and Human Rights

CHAPTER 13: The Crucial Role of Intelligence

PART III: Terrorism in the News Media and on the Internet

CHAPTER 14: Terrorist Propaganda and the Mainstream Media

CHAPTER 15: Terror and Hate in Cyberspace

CHAPTER 16: Conclusion: Living with Terrorist Threats

APPENDIX: Major Terrorist Incidents since the Late 1970s

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Brigitte L. Nacos teaches political science at Columbia University and was a long-time U.S. correspondent for newspapers in Germany.


The main strength is that the book is comprehensive and updated. The academic study of terrorism has been rapidly developing and new ideas and insights occur rapidly and constantly. I would argue that the pace of change in terrorism studies is generally greater than other subfields of political science. Moreover, the nature of the threat of terrorism evolves constantly and rapidly, which further complicates being able to develop a coherent and cohesive textbook. Nacos’ efforts in this regard are laudable—she does an excellent job of incorporating and summarizing new findings and new events. - Jeffrey Bosworth, Mansfield University

The book is well written and informative. I find it is written so the new student or second year students can easily understand its contents and the vocabulary being used. New vocabulary is part of the teaching process. - Dennis W. McLean, Keiser University

The students are generally very positive about the text. It is well written, well-paced and accessible, which is important for first year students. It is general enough to be used as a comprehensive introduction, but has enough depth to give the student’s some of the subtleties and complexities of the topic... The advantages are that the book is updated and timely and that it provides a very good focus on both hard and soft approaches, including communications theory and terrorist / counter terrorist messaging and the internet. - Julian Droogany, Macquarie University, Australia