Terrorism has not just gripped the globe – discussion on this seemingly all-encompassing phenomenon tends to dominate not just the print media and television – but the world of books. If you pick up a western or Indian newspaper these days, it’s quite possible that three out of five reports are related to terrorism. There’s a huge amount of information pouring into households on the menace, but how much of it is authentic and based on fact? Most writing on the phenomenon is dominated by retired spooks, who would have otherwise led reasonable boring, superannuated lives. Whether it is a police investigation or an editorial page article, there’s a need to demand more “facts” in the writing on terrorism. Turning to the book under discussion, a collection of papers for a seminar organized by the Observer Research Foundation, one can see the collection has some authentic insights into the operation of some new terrorist outfits in Southeast Asia.
October 2006, volume 30, No 10