Weapons of Mass Psychological Destruction and the People Who Use Them
by Larry C. James and Terry L. Oroszi, Editors
December 2015, 231pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3754-8
$75, £58, 66€, A103
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eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3755-5
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A psychological terrorist can make use of the media as a weapon.

A must-read for every concerned citizen, this absorbing book goes inside the mind of the psychological terrorist to look at what motivates him to act and to choose the weapon he does.

Created by a team of experts in military science and psychology, this timely study is the first comprehensive treatment of the tactical and psychological use of weapons of mass destruction. The book introduces the term “weapons of mass psychological destruction” (WMPD) and draws from examples and case histories to examine the minds of the terrorists who choose these weapons, not for maximum killing, but for maximum psychological harm to the greatest number of people.

This groundbreaking work identifies the recruiting practices that create psychological terrorists, revealing how these fanatics are “made,” who becomes one, and why. Emerging trends in WMPD tactics and new technology in the field are detailed, as are related ethical issues, psychological reactions to WMPD, and the role religion may play in the choice of weapons. The innovative strategies and policies that can be used to predict, identify, and prevent disasters employing WMPD are outlined as well. Readers will also learn how the media is unknowingly used as a WMPD, and how terrorists employ social media to launch targeted psychological attacks.


  • Details the science and psychology of WMPD in relation to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive weapons, explaining why a terrorist chooses a specific type of a weapon
  • Examines who becomes a WMPD terrorist and why
  • Highlights how and why a suicide bomber is made as well as how, why, and where he will kill to do the most psychological damage
  • Includes case examples drawn from interviews with terrorists at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and from analysis of events including the Boston Marathon bombing
  • Lays out prevention strategies that can decrease the likelihood of an attack
Larry C. James, PhD, is a retired U.S. Army colonel and clinical psychologist. He is professor and dean of the School of Professional Psychology and associate vice president at the Center for Veterans Affairs at Wright State University, a Fellow of three divisions of the American Psychological Association (health psychology, clinical psychology, and military psychology), and a fellow of the American Academy of Health Psychology and the American Academy of Clinical Psychology. In earlier roles, he served as chair of the Department of Psychology at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, HI, and as chief of the Department of Psychology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. James is associate editor for the Journal of Military Psychology and a reviewer for seven other journals. His psychology awards include a Presidential Citation from APA for distinguished service to the field of military psychology and the global war on terrorism. His military awards include the Bronze Star, the Defense Superior Service Award, a Meritorious Service Award, Joint Defense Commendation Medal, and a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. He served in the Philippines, Iraq, Cuba, and Afghanistan as well as at the Pentagon.

Terry L. Oroszi, MS, is a molecular geneticist and member of the faculty at the Boonshoft School of Medicine, Wright State University. She is director of the graduate program in Pharmacology and Toxicology, director of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense Certificate Program, and previous director of the Pharmacology Genetic Testing Facility at Wright State. Oroszi is also cochair of the advisory board for Wright State's newly formed Emergency Management MS program and serves on the executive board of the Simman Wound Care Foundation. Her honors include the Michelle Obama Role Model of Excellence Award (2010). During her service in the US Army, Oroszi was part of the Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) team.
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