Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Book: Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why

who-becomes-a-terrorist.jpgI found “Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why” in a used bookstore for $2.99, and it was worth every depressing penny and more. The book is a US government funded study from 1999. It’s not clear if this work would be possible today or not. Much of the body of the book is a an academic style literature survey. Academic work from a variety of fields is summarized and integrated into a whole. The conclusion, unfortunate for those who want to put us all into a big database and see who pops out, is that there is no one personality type, and no one background that seems to unify those who become terrorists. Men and women, rich and poor, Christian, Islamic, and atheist: All have become terrorists.

There is, however, one important determinant: People who blog about terrorism don’t commit terrorist acts. So may I please keep my damned shoes on?

[In response to a question from Ian Grigg, it turns out the book is online at “Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why.” (1.5mb PDF. Google offers up an HTML version.)]

3 comments on "Book: Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why"

  • Justin says:

    ‘People who blog about terrorism don’t commit terrorist acts.’
    Are you *sure* there’s a big enough sample size to make that determination yet? 😉
    You know, I bet Timothy McVeigh would have had a blog, if it was 10 years later.

  • Iang says:

    Interesting! I wonder if anyone has written a book called:
    “Who becomes a Freedom Fighter and Why?”
    If it is a USG-funded study, does that mean it is on the net somewhere?

  • Saar Drimer says:

    So they also predicted the blogging fad in this study? 🙂

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