A Documentary and Reference Guide
by Vincent Burns, Kate Dempsey Peterson
June 2005, 336pp, 8 1/2x11
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-33213-5
$96, £74, 84€, A132
eBook Available: 978-0-313-02667-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

From bin Laden’s fatwas to the PATRIOT Act, this annotated and interactive collection of primary documents and illustrations chronicles the rise of al Qaeda and other global and domestic terrorist threats to the U.S., their deadly attacks, and how the U.S. and terror groups have since responded.

Examining the roots of global terrorism and its current state, Terrorism: A Documentary and Reference Guide includes over 70 documents that illustrate political and ethnic terrorism, terrorism’s role in the Cold War, and its significance in Middle East violence. Much of the material relates to the lead-up to the September 11 attacks and its aftermath, and each annotated document is followed by detailed analyses along with exhaustive print and online bibliographies. Other features in this must-have sourcebook on modern terrorism include 65 photographs, 50+ sidebars, and a comprehensive bibliography that includes video and Internet resources.

This documentary history examines the roots of global terrorism and its current state. Documents range from the 1950s through 2004, and are drawn from terrorist training guides, recently declassified CIA reports, archival materials, excerpts from the U.S. PATRIOT Act, and suicide bombers’ final letters. Much of the material relates to the lead-up to the September 11 attacks and their ongoing aftermath both in the United States and among its enemies. Other material illustrates political and ethnic terrorism, terrorism’s role in the Cold War, and, finally, its longstanding significance to the history of violence in the Middle East. Every document is followed by detailed analyses and exhaustive print and online bibliographies and prefaced by annotations indicating the document’s source, date issued, where issued, and importance. Besides the documents, the work includes an overview foreword from James K. Kallstrom, Special Advisor to Governor Pataki on Counter-Terrorism and former Assistant Director of the New York Office of the FBI. Other features in this must-have sourcebook on modern terrorism and the al Qaeda threat: 65 photographs, 50+ sidebars, and a comprehensive bibliography that includes video and Internet resources.

The work’s 70 documents range from the rise of anti-American Islam to the Oklahoma City tragedy, and from the problem of defining terrorism to the U.S. PATRIOT Act. Subjects include: —Ronald Reagan’s famous one man’s terrorist quip —the Weatherman’s Vietnam-war era call to revolution and violence in America —ecoterrorism attacks in the Pacific Northwest —presidential archive material on Yassir Arafat —fresh translations of Islamist Sayyid Qutb’s bitter anti-American attacks (that inspired Osama bin Laden) —Hezbollah’s identity and goals —al Qaeda’s secret terrorism manual —CIA’s secret 1996 assessment of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda —bin Laden’s fatwa calling on supporters to kill the Americans —Mohamed Atta’s final instructions to fellow 9/11 hijackers —FBI and CIA assessments of their 9/11 failures —9/11 Commission testimony and reports —PATRIOT Act legislation and the response from the American Library Association —Office of Homeland Security reforms, budgets, and legislation —Hezbollah’s response to 9/11 —al Qaeda’s grisly claim of responsibility for the 2004 Madrid train bombings that altered Spain’s national elections —diverse perspectives from pundits and policymakers on the ongoing war on terrorism —and much more.


"Burns and Peterson have created a unique volume of 70 documents, some never before in print, pertaining to terrorism and the US. Readings include speeches, policy statements, letters, reports, and laws. Documents were chosen to best illuminate the terrorism threat to the United States and the American response. Although many of the documents are reproduced only in sections (sources are provided to locate the entire article), the gist of the information is present. Nine thematic chapters (e.g., Definitions of Terrorism: Past and Present, American versus American, and Radical Islam) assist in placing the documents in context. Cross-references, document analysis that often includes historical background on the topic, sidebars, and a further readings section increase comprehension. Chapter introductions provide background information (e.g., title, date, significance) about the documents. An extensive resources section, including national and international sources (electronic, print, and video), also contributes to making this an excellent choice for the academic or armchair student of terrorism. An easy-to-use resource that is full of pertinent information, this volume should be read all the way from the introduction (an excellent piece by former FBI agent James Kallstrom) to the resources section. Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."—Choice, December 1, 2005

"This easy-to-use reference guide by freelance editor Dempsey Peterson and former journalist Burns, who also coedited Encyclopedia of World Terrorism, includes a fine selection of essays, commentary, and more than 70 documents related to terrorism, most with an emphasis on the Middle East and al Qaeda. These documents span the 1950s to 2004 and are drawn from such varied sources as recently declassified CIA reports and suicide bombers' final letters. Following each document are detailed analyses and an extensive list of bibliographic references (the book's greatest strength) that help make the proliferation of material that has become available since 9/11 less bewildering. Every document is also prefaced by annotations indicating its source, date and place of issue, and importance....[t]his book excels in offering a highly organized presentation, and its Readers Guide to Related Documents and Sidebars will be especially appreciated by undergraduates. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries."—Library Journal, September 15, 2005

"[A] well thought out and considered overview of the background to and repercussions of the terrorist attacks of September 11... [T]he guide is easy to use and well indexed and signposted... Recommended for undergraduate and general readers."—Reference Reviews, 00/00/00

"This history and analysis of modern terrorism provides an overview of modern terror itself, as well as the views and tactics of its perpetrators and those trying to thwart them. While many books on the subject are laden with implicit or explicit judgments that tend to oversimplify the complex nature of terrorism, Burns and Dempsey include a wide variety of perspectives. The book tackles subjects such as the definition of terrorism, radical Islam, and the war on terror by presenting an assortment of primary documents from all sides of the issue, then putting those documents in context, and finally suggesting further reading."—Middle East Journal, July 1, 2007

"This concise single volume provides a wealth of information about the events leading up to and including the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Beginning with a clearly written examination of the roots of global terrorism, it features seventy documents (speeches, policy statements, briefings, Web postings, etc.), many of which are published here for the first time....The strengths of the book lie in the detailed analyses of each document, the extensive use of sidebars, ample illustrations and photographs, and the exhaustive resource list that incoporates electronic, print, and video materials. The reader's guide to related documents and sidebars is especially helpful in navigating the text. Both teachers and students will find it an exceptionally valuable resource as it brings together materials that, heretofore, have been difficult if not impossible to find."—VOYA, February 1, 2006

"Each document in this collection is accompanied by a short analysis and suggestions for further reading. Did You Know? sidebars on related subjects such as suicide missions and events leading to the Iranian hostage crisis are included....The book includes translations from Al Qaeda training manuals and of the 9/11 hijackers notes, the CIAs 1996 report on Osama bin Laden, excerpts from writings by Egyptian Islamist thinker Sayyid Qutb, Richard Clarke's testimony before the 9/11 Commission, and ALA's resolution denouncing the USA Patriot Act. There is an impressive list of relevant Web sites and a list of related films and videos....The information is detailed and accurate.... This resource would be most useful where primary sources and analyses are needed."—School Library Journal, December 1, 2005

"[W]ill find a place on not only college-level library shelves, but many a public library reference section....[p]resents both a history of modern terrorism and a survey of its roots, using speeches, policy statements, letters, and even terrorists' Web postings to consider the social, legal and historical aspects of terrorist activity around the world. Emphasis is on events leading up to 9/11 and its aftermath, with source material documents emerging from formerly classified archives or those rarely seen in English."—MBR Bookwatch, October 1, 2005

"Recommended Book. In our summer Letters we usually review books for relaxed seasonal reading. This book is not one of them. Vincent Burns and Kate Dempsey Peterson, freelance writers, have compiled from public sources and interesting collection of documents on terrorism. Insight into the minds of Islamists is provided. But in one domestic case Timothy McVeigh explains why he blew up the Murrah federal bldg, in Oklahoma City. (It was his anger toward the FBI and other fed. agencies for their operations in Waco.)...The compilers include sobering examples of the nation's un-readiness. These include Richard A. Clarke's statement before the 9/11 Commission, Your government failed you, and a list of ten missed opportunities to thwart 9/11. The collection or readings is sobering, and valuable."—Security Letter, August 1, 2005

Documentary and Reference Guides

Expertly chosen primary source documents, analytical commentary, and comprehensive study resources present Americans grappling directly with complex social and political issues in ways that have had a deep and lasting impact on contemporary society.

Students often are unaware that hotly contested public debates have deep historical roots. Intended to allow readers to engage with history and discover the development of controversial social and political issues over time, the Documentary and Reference Guides series introduces such issues through carefully chosen primary source documents.

The documents analyzed in these volumes encourage critical thinking, offering fresh perspectives as they sweep away preconceptions and restore immediacy to debates that may have become stale. They encourage students to explore for themselves how important issues came to be framed as they are and to consider how contemporary discussion might advance beyond the assumptions and hardened positions of the past.


  • 50–100 primary source documents, topically and chronologically organized, including excerpts from legislation, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, manifestos, broadcast statements, such controversial writings as Thomas Paine's pamphlets and excerpts from the Federalist Papers, and personal writings, such as letters
  • 15–25 photographs
  • Accessible analysis sections and lively sidebars illuminating documents that are crucial to the subject, but relatively legalistic or technical
  • A Reader's Guide to the Documents and Sidebars, organized by subject, to enable readers to pursue particular lines of inquiry through more than one chapter
  • A comprehensive, annotated, general resources section supporting student research needs
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.