You are here

Debating Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Debating Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Conflicting Perspectives on Causes, Contexts, and Responses

Second Edition
Edited by:

April 2013 | 432 pages | CQ Press
Debate is an important part of the classroom experience. However, most debate-style readers do a disservice to students by selecting readings from disparate sources that end up talking past one another. As a part of the Debating Politics series from CQ Press, this reader is different. Featuring paired pro/con pieces written specifically for this volume, Debating Terrorism encourages students to actively grapple with the central debates and questions surrounding the subject of terrorism and counterterrorism . With topics ranging from the root causes of terrorism, the role of religion in terrorism, whether suicide terrorism is ever justified, whether the spread of democracy can help defeat terrorism, and what trade-offs, if any, should exist between security and civil liberties, Gottlieb's outstanding cast of contributors returns in this edition, compelling students to wrestle with the conflicting perspectives that define the field.

Gottlieb frames the complexity and sophistication of these issues with incisive chapter headnotes providing students with the requisite context and preparing them to read each argument critically, allowing them to understand the past, present, and future of terrorism and counterterrorism. Each of the selections has been thoroughly updated to account for recent world events, policy changes, and new scholarship. New to the reader, and by reviewer request, is a chapter, "Can Global Institutions Make a Difference in Fighting Terrorism?"

Alexander Spencer, Rohan Gunaratna
Ch. 1
James Piazza, Karin von Hippel
Ch. 2
Tamar Meisels, Ted Honderich
Ch. 3
Andrew McCarthy, Fawaz Gerges
Ch. 4
Gordon McCormick, Linday Fritz, Max Abrahms
Ch. 5
Matthew Bunn, Susan Martin
Ch. 6
Brigitte Nacos, Michael Rubin
Ch. 7
Greg Gause III, Jennifer Windsor
Ch. 8
Zachary Shirkey, Bruce Cronin
Ch. 9
Michael Posner, Alan Dershowitz
Ch. 10
John Yoo, David Cole
Ch. 11
John Mueller, Walter Laqueuer
Ch. 12

This is an superb text, and highly recommended for any course exploring aspects relating to terrorism.
The text explores a broad range of concepts relating to terrorism, with detailed exploration of examples of terrorism, through a range of case studies. The text also explores key debates in the study of terrorism, offering key points in the debate on whether terrorist acts can ever be justified.
A key strength of this text is the focus on counterterrorism approaches, exploring the broad range of approaches used by national governments and international organisations.
The depth of analysis offers by this text make it ideal for undergraduate and postgraduate level. A highly recommended text.

Mr Gavin Hatton
Social Science , St David's College
May 31, 2016

This is a very good secondary source for students of terrorism studies.

Mr Ikrom Yakubov
Department of Politics, Dundee University
November 13, 2015
Key features
  • New selections by Zachary C. Shirkey and Bruce Cronin addressing the question: "Can Global Institutions Make a Difference in Fighting Terrorism?" All contributions have been updated to account for current events and the latest scholarship
  • Each headnote has been revised so that the historical underpinnings and scholarly traditions are clearer and more robust, and the discussion of the points of similiarity as well as differences between the views expressed in the essays has been sharpened.


  • Context-setting headnotes provide valuable scene setting for students
  • Yes/No Readings are in true dialogue with one another

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

Electronic version
Prices from
*180 day rental

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.