This book could easily be subtitled, ‘One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter’. As Matthew Carr eloquently points out it is all a matter from where you take your viewpoint. When someone mentions terrorism Al-Quieda and Osama Bin Laden spring to mind, however terrorism is not a new phenomenon. Mathew Carr takes us back to Russia in the early 1880’s and the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. When you read the circumstances surrounding this event, you begin to see the quandary of determining what constitutes terrorism. In a decade by decade, country by country dissection we see that terrorism has been with us constantly, for quite some time. The names may change, the techniques may vary depending on the goals, but terrorism it is.

One of the more interesting episodes that the author explores is how in many cases terrorism is actually used to a governments advantage, it is a way that unpopular legislation can be enacted with little or no grumbling from the population. That should be apparent to all of us living in North America, and the draconian measures that have been enacted under the banner of ‘The War In Terror’ since the 9/11 Al Quieda outrage. Indeed the governments of the Western World have used this as a clarion call to advance their own agendas.

Mr. Carr also explores how over time a terrorist can indeed be recognized as something else when it is in the best interests of a government. Maybe the finest example of that would be Nelson Mandela, he did indeed change from terrorist to freedom fighter when it was convenient for the West.

The world was outraged over the killing of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, however Matthew argues, the massacre was as a result of a bungled rescue effort, and not suicide bravado by the Black September group. This single act, garnered more news coverage than the genocide of an estimated 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda.

To say this is a controversial book is to put it mildly, there is something to annoy everyone, because everyone has their own personal view of the historical events documented. However, it is exceedingly well researched, and well written, that it is well worth the time and effort to read it. I found this to be an excellent and highly educational view that explores not only the motivations of the various groups, but the responses that they elicited from the counties involved. In many instances the response far outweighed the crimes committed. 

The Infernal Machine is available on Amazon.

Simon Barrett


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