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A book of outstanding contemporary relevance and importance that is both exciting and chilling, Terrorist Lives addresses the human dimension of one of the most central and intractable problems of our times. Who are the terrorists? What sort of individual wilfully creates the personal tragedies resulting from the killing and maiming of innocents?
Maxwell Taylor and Ethel Quayle offer a unique view of the way in which terrorists live and think drawing on previously unpublished interviews with terrorists conducted over a period of 15 years. They include accounts from members of paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland, Arab and Islamic al-Jihad organisations and former members of the Italian Red Brigades, Baader Meinhof group and other European terrorist organisations describing not only their experiences but also how their activities affect others involved - their families, the police and the victims.
Where possible, the authors use either the actual or paraphrased words of terrorists to describe their own world and actions as they see them. Whilst many of the people interviewed are violent, and most have committed horrific and sometimes barbaric crimes, few if any fit the image in any technical sense of an abnormal individual. This is an uncomfortable conclusion. The reality of the terrorist is that they are essentially unremarkable people, in psychological terms disturbingly similar to their victims. What then makes the terrorist different? Taylor and Quayle suggest some answers to this very difficult question.