"Michael Burleigh's theme: the moral squalor, intellectual poverty and psychotic nature of terrorist organisations, from the Fenians of the mid-19th century to today's jihadists - the latter group, especially, being composed of unstable males of conspicuously limited abilities and imagination, and yet who pose "an existential threat to the whole of civilisation" with their crusade to realise "a world that almost nobody wants", all in the hope of an afterlife featuring 72 virgins and rivers foaming with honey and beer.One book is a start. Many more are needed to shake us out of what has become, I believe, our post 9/11 complacency and fondness for appeasement.
Maybe Burleigh's biggest achievement is persuasively to argue that no ideology is worse than radical Islam - itself motivated by "sheer racial hatred" - which exploits Europe's tradition of freedom of worship (and welfare state) to curtail our freedom of speech. Its leaders are people who know their human rights, but not anyone else's."
April 27, 2008
Taking on the barbarians
Review - Blood & Rage: a Cultural History of Terrorism by Michael Burleigh