Wars on Terrorism

By Bruce Hoffman

Best Laid Plans: The Inside Story of America’s War Against Terrorism (1988), by David C. Martin and John Walcott. The Reagan administration’s prosecution of America’s first— frustratingly unsuccessful and inchoate—war on global terrorism.

Big Boys’ Rules: The Secret Struggle Against the IRA (1992), by Mark Urban. How elite British special-operations and intelligence units systematically weakened the IRA throughout the 1980s and paved the way for the Good Friday Accords and, a decade later, peace.

The Hunt for the Engineer: How Israeli Agents Tracked the Hamas Master Bomber (1999), by Samuel M. Katz. An engrossing account of the “targeted assassination” of the mastermind behind the wave of suicide bombings that convulsed Israel during the mid-1990s.

Pig in the Middle: The Army in Northern Ireland, 1969–1984 (1985), by Desmond Hamill. The story of how the British army—thrust into an urban environment as a police force—grappled with the challenge of separating two warring peoples, maintaining order, and defeating terrorism.

A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954–1962 (1978), by Alistair Horne. A classic account of the challenges and dilemmas faced by a liberal democratic state—France—as it contended with the terrorist tactics of Algeria’s independence movement.

Striking Back: The 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and Israel’s Deadly Response (2005), by Aaron J. Klein. The most accurate and authoritative account of Israel’s efforts to avenge the Munich attack and neutralize the threat of continued Palestinian terrorism.

Terror Out of Zion: The Fight for Israeli Independence (1996), by J. Bowyer Bell. The story of the first post–World War II terrorist campaign—and the British government’s ineffectual efforts to defeat it.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2006/05/wars-on-terrorism/304799/