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My Life Is a Weapon:
A Modern History of Suicide Bombing
Christoph Reuter

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [HTML] or [PDF format]


"Christoph Reuter . . . interviewed as many families of suicide bombers as he could find, canvassed their countries of origin for insights, and has compiled the results in a short, readable book. The windows Mr. Reuter makes into suicide terrorists' family lives . . . show how lamentable is the ethos of chauvinism and pride that supports suicide terrorism. But they also show how fragile and contrived that support can sometimes be."--Brendan Conway, New York Sun

"[Reuter] integrate[s] impressive research with personal interviews and experiences that give the material immediacy and emotional force. . . . [H]is message is an important one, and it is this: the myths that poverty, or deprivation, or humiliation, or paradisiacal virgins or religious zealotry or hopelessness or plain ignorance are ultimately driving suicide attacks are 'simply wrong'. . . .. What is driving the spread and intensification of such attacks, he suggests, is a record of apparent success in attaining strategic objectives from 1980 to 2000, even if such success was bought at a horrible cost."--Avery Plaw, Montreal Gazette

"Everyone frustrated by the spread of suicide bombing as an extension of politics by other means would be wise to read and dwell on My Life is a Weapon. . . . Reuter's book offers rich data for mulling the topic."--Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer

"This insightful, sensitively written book deserves a wide audience."--Jane Adas, Christian Century

"Likely to become the standard text on the subject."--Washington Post Book World

"Fine first-hand reporting is combined with a sensitive effort to explain."--Foreign Affairs

"Reuter has provided an excellent overview of the nature of contemporary suicide attacks. The book is well worth reading for all students of this topic."--John C. Zimmerman, Terrorism and Political Violence


"Christoph Reuter's modern history of suicide bombing helps put today's headlines into context. As Reuter's assessment makes clear, suicide killers are not irrational fanatics, but cost-effective weapons employed by rational organizations. Reuter traveled around the world to talk with 'martyr's' families and their tutors, reporting what he found in lucid, often moving prose. The world would be a far safer place if our leaders were to heed his wise words of advice."--Jessica Stern, author of Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill

"This engaging book brings us face to face with scores of determined activists who kill and die for God. Yet it is more than a series of portraits. This thoughtful study reflects on the social contexts and historical moments that give rise to such extremes, and calls for a tempered world view that would reduce the frequency of such tragic, lethal acts. There is nothing quite like it."--Mark Juergensmeyer, author of Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence

"Christoph Reuter's new study makes an important contribution to the growing field of suicide terrorism. Many readers will benefit from his comprehensive coverage of the historical record of both Islamic and non-Islamic cases."--Robert Pape, University of Chicago

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File created: 4/21/2017

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