Violent Extremists

Understanding the Domestic and International Terrorist Threat

by Thomas R. Mockaitis


More than 90 percent of terrorist attacks occur within the context of local conflicts, evidence that Americans have more to fear from domestic extremists than they do from members of ISIS.

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Cover image for Violent Extremists

June 2019


Pages 180
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Security Studies/Terrorism
  Security Studies/International and Transnational Security

Written for the general reader as well as the professional, this succinct but comprehensive work examines the hybrid nature of the two violent extremist movements threatening the United States: radical Islamism and white nationalism.

Scholarship as well as popular discourse on terrorism often focuses disproportionately on specific groups without paying sufficient attention to the ideology that motivates them. This book emphasizes understanding and countering the ideology that fuels extremism over preoccupation with specific organizations such as Al Qaeda or ISIS. It sets contemporary terrorist threats in perspective, avoiding fear-mongering and political rhetoric.

The book examines the nature of violent extremism today in all its forms, including lone wolves and cyber threats. Focusing on the threats posed by both international and domestic terrorism, it analyzes each in depth as a multidimensional hybrid phenomenon: each threat exists as an ideology, as distinct groups espousing that ideology, and as a network of followers. Short, easy-to-read chapters take readers through the subject matter in a clear, methodical manner. Written in an accessible style by an author who has studied terrorism for more than 30 years and provided extensive media coverage on the subject, the work is a valuable addition to the literature on violent extremism.


  • Provides concise but comprehensive analysis of violent extremism as a hybrid phenomenon
  • Focuses on contemporary threats that are of great concern to the United States and other Western powers
  • Combines scholarly rigor with an accessible writing style
  • Debunks fear and counters myths while avoiding political hype
Series Description

Praeger Security International

As the world gets "smaller" through technology and globalization, the security risks we face grow and multiply.

International security in the 21st century is not a topic that can be adequately addressed in nightly news soundbites or online articles intended to be relevant for 24 hours or less. Comprehending these complex issues requires insight from foreign policy specialists, diplomats, military officials, peace scholars, historians, and security experts—participants and observers on all sides of each conflict. This series provides the tools for understanding security issues in our uncertain, unstable world.

Covering global hot spots from Iran to Venezuela and subjects ranging from terrorism and cyber warfare to food security, books in the Praeger Security International series give readers access to carefully considered and highly informed viewpoints on the critical security issues that threaten to destabilize our world. With titles authored by diplomats, academic researchers, journalists, military leaders and combatants, legal experts, psychologists, and other knowledgeable specialists, these books offer in-depth analysis and international perspectives that are unavailable in the mass media. These titles represent an invaluable resource for students, researchers, and policymakers as well as for anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the complex issues that affect our lives and future.


  • Provides reliable, comprehensive information on all matters relating to security that is ideal for students, teachers, researchers, and professionals
  • Offers insightful commentaries written by a diverse group of scholars and experts who provide interdisciplinary treatments of newsworthy events and important historical occurrences
Author Info

Thomas R. Mockaitis, PhD, is professor of history at DePaul University. He presents programs with other experts through the Center for Civil-Military Relations at the Naval Postgraduate School at venues around the world. Mockaitis was the 2004 Eisenhower Chair at the Royal Military Academy of the Netherlands. He has also lectured at the NATO School, the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the Canadian Forces Staff College. A frequent media commentator on terrorism and security matters, he has appeared on PBS, National Public Radio, and BBC World News and is author of numerous books and articles.

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