The Myth of Martyrdom What Really Drives Suicide Bombers, Rampage Shooters, and Other Self-Destructive Killers

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1/22/2013
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
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For decades, experts have maintained that suicide terrorists are the psychological equivalent of America's Navy SEALSmen and women so fully committed to their cause that they cease to fear death. In The Myth of Martyrdom,Lankford corrects this misconception, arguing that these mysterious people are driven to suicide by the same factors as any civilian: depression, anxiety, marital strife, or professional failure. He takes readers on a journey through the minds of suicide bombers, airplane hijackers, 'lone wolf' terrorists, cult members, school shooters, kamikaze pilots, and more. The result is an astonishing exploration of fear, failure, guilt, shame, and rage, told through case studies, suicide notes, love letters, diary entries, and martyrdom videos. Lankford believes that it is only by exploring these heretofore unacknowledged secrets of suicide terrorists that we will ever be able to stop them, and he outlines the first steps our government and military must take toward accomplishing that seemingly impossible goal.

Author Biography

Adam Lankford is a Criminal Justice professor at The University of Alabama. His research has been featured by media outlets such as Foreign Policy, The Daily Beast, CNN, NPR, The Atlantic, and The Boston Globe. From 2003 to 2008, Lankford helped coordinate anti-terrorism efforts in conjunction with the US State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance program. Lankford has written for The Huffington Post, Foreign Policy, and many peer-reviewed journals, and is the author of Human Killing Machines. He lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

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