Bombshell : Women and Terrorism
Overview - Between 1985 and 2008, female suicide bombers committed more than 230 attacks--about a quarter of all such acts. Women have become the ideal stealth weapon for terrorist groups. They are less likely to be suspected or searched and as a result have been used to strike at the heart of coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read more...
More About Bombshell by Mia Bloom
Between 1985 and 2008, female suicide bombers committed more than 230 attacks--about a quarter of all such acts. Women have become the ideal stealth weapon for terrorist groups. They are less likely to be suspected or searched and as a result have been used to strike at the heart of coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. This alarming tactic has been highly effective, garnering extra media attention and helping to recruit more numbers to the terrorists' cause. Yet, as Mia Bloom explains in Bombshell: Women and Terrorism
, female involvement in terrorism is not confined to suicide bombing and not limited to the Middle East. From Northern Ireland to Sri Lanka, women have been engaged in all manner of terrorist activities, from generating propaganda to blowing up targets. What drives women to participate in terrorist activities? Bloom--a scholar of both international studies and women's studies--blends scrupulous research with psychological insight to unearth affecting stories from women who were formerly terrorists. She moves beyond gender stereotypes to examine the conditions that really influence female violence, arguing that while women terrorists can be just as bloodthirsty as their male counterparts, their motivations tend to be more intricate and multilayered. Through compelling case studies she demonstrates that though some of these women volunteer as martyrs, many more have been coerced by physical threats or other means of social control. As evidenced by the March 2011 release of Al Qaeda's magazine Al Shamikha
, dubbed the jihadi Cosmo
, it is clear that women are the future of even the most conservative terrorist organizations. Bombshell
is a groundbreaking book that reveals the inner workings of a shocking, unfamiliar world.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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Bloom (Dying to Kill) explores how and why women become terrorists and suicide bombers in this engrossing, deeply researched account. She notes that women have participated in radical and revolutionary struggles of the past—anticolonial movements in the Third World, Marxist organizations in Europe, nationalist struggles in the Middle East—and are now “plotters, propagandists, and pawns” in terrorist organizations throughout the world. She introduces Siobhan, a former member of the Irish Republican Army, jailed for attempted bombing; Ahlam-at-Tamimi of Hamas, who has become a resistance hero while serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison; and in a particularly chilling portrait, Malika el Aroud of al-Qaeda, who lives in Europe and is so adept at posting messages to “true believers” on the Internet, she lures men from all over the world into becoming suicide bombers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Covering groups from the Black Widow Bombers of Chechnya to the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, who are skilled female fighters who take part in every level of combat alongside the men, Bloom concludes that women are motivated to join terrorist groups by a desire for “revenge, redemption, respect,” but their single biggest motivator is their relationship, either personal or from a distance, with a known insurgent or jihadi. Providing an overview of the history that led to the conflicts in each of the regions she studies, this balanced, readable account offers invaluable insights into a hidden and disturbing world. (Oct.)