Berko, an authority on terrorism and researcher for the National Security Council, explores primarily why and how Palestinian terrorist groups use women. Based on years of interviews with Palestinian leaders, the book attempts to answer the question: are women smart bombs or stupid ones? Mainly, Berko finds, they are desperate ones. Arab cultural attitudes about women directly influence terrorist attitudes toward the use of female suicide bombers. Male handlers often exploit women bombers sexually, and then use that exploitation and associated shame to both motivate and intimidate the women to bomb. Berko further reveals that terrorist leaders use female bombers only reluctantly, and that women bombers actually decrease their standing in Arab society because effective female suicide bombers challenge the cultural norm of male dominance. Female suicide bombers are very effective, Berko concludes, in this fascinating look inside terrorist practices. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
2012-09-10, Publishers Weekly