After the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 Caleb Carr examines the lessons of military history to prove that using terrorism against civilians remains as self-defeating today as it has been throughout time - from the last days of the Roman Empire to Vietnam.
In the wake of the attacks on New York and Washington many people believe we have entered a new world, but in this thought-provoking and thorough examination of the history of terrorism we can take comfort from the fact that we have been in this new world before - and survived.
By drawing on the examples of history from the ancient, mediaeval and early modern worlds, Caleb Carr demonstrates how attempts to control civilian populations with the use of terror grew into a persistent problem in human history. Moving forward into more recent times he then demonstrates how and why such tactics have consistently failed their perpetrators - from the British scorched earth policy during the American War of Independence to terror at sea during WWI to the Japanese rape of China in WWII to the war in Vietnam and, ultimately, to the actions of Islamic extremists today.
An important and timely book which throws much needed light on many of the questions being posed today.
Caleb Carr is an American novelist and military historian.
He was born in Manhattan, and for the majority of his life he lived on the Lower East Side of that city, spending his summers and many weekends at his family's home in Cherry Plain, New York. In 2000, he purchased his own property, known as Misery Mountain, in Cherry Plain; and in 2006 he moved there permanently.
He is the author of ten books, several of which, most notably the historical thriller The Alienist, have become international best-sellers and prize-winners, and his work has been translated into over two dozen languages. In 2015, Paramount Television announced that it would create a series based on The Alienist for Turner Network Television (TNT).
He now lives with his Siberian cat, Masha. She is, he says, 'very beautiful and very ferocious.'