Book Review: Eamon Murphy. 2012. The Making of Terrorism in Pakistan: Historical and Social Roots of Extremism

Published date01 December 2014
Date01 December 2014
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 355
Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, 1, 3 (2014): 347–357
the reader is the inclusion of some very rare and interesting illustrations and pic-
tures that helps to emphasize the episodes related. To a modern reader living in
today’s conditions of a relatively advanced health care system composed both of
public institutions and private hospitals, it sometimes feels astounding to read the
gruesome and horrific epidemics which Sri Lankan people had undergone in the
previous two centuries, epidemics such as smallpox, cholera, malaria, parangi,
typhoid and high maternal and infant mortality.
One may feel sometimes a little critical on the repetitions of various facts and
incidents in different sections of the book. This is, however, inevitable when dif-
ferent diseases which have common origins and common causes for their spread
are related. Further, most of the diseases became contagious and spread rapidly
due to the widespread insanitary conditions, the physiological conditions of the
people, the unsatisfactory nature of living conditions, the lack of adequate facili-
ties for prevention and treatment, etc., which are common throughout.
Overall the book is of immense interest and historical value not only to eco-
nomic historians, medical men and doctors and students but is of contemporary
relevance to administrators and policy makers as well as to the general public
Saman Kelegama
Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka
Eamon Murphy. 2012. The Making of Terrorism in Pakistan: Historical
and Social Roots of Extremism. London: Routledge. 224 pp. ISBN:
DOI: 10.1177/2347797014551272
This book delves into the origins and nature of terrorism in Pakistan and examines
the social, political and economic factors that have contributed to the rise of poli-
tical violence in the country over the past few decades. In particular, this text exa-
mines ‘the notion that religious extremism—specifically, Islamic extremism—is
the primary driver of contemporary terrorism and one of the prime security threats
facing Western countries’ (Jackson in Murphy, 2013, p. 9). The book has added a
valuable commentary on various factors, which has influenced the rise of terro-
rism in Pakistan. The author approaches the topic from the perspective of the field
of critical terrorism studies dictum that contemporary terrorism must be under-
stood in terms of political, cultural and sociological factors. What this text aims to
highlight is the tendency of ‘the mainstream Western media… to report and
explain acts of terrorism largely in terms of their roots in religious extremism and
without reference to political or historical context’ (Jackson in Murphy, 2013,
p. 9). The author Eamon Murphy, based at Curtin University of Technology in

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