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Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War by Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg and William Broad
Three reporters lay out the recent history of biological warfare and the lack of preparation on the part of the U.S. government for such an attack against American troops overseas as well as within our borders.
Read an excerpt

The Ultimate Terrorists by Jessica Stern
A balanced and concise examination of the potential for terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction. Written
by a former fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, this book was an early warning of the new threat.

Terrorism & The Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security by James X. Dempsey and David Cole
Primarily concerned with the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1996, providing a cautionary counterpoint to the current rush to gain security at the price of the liberties that are part of American life.

Origins of Terrorism: Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind by Walter Reich, editor
A collection of essays about how terrorists think (opposing theories are presented) including case studies in the factors leading to political violence.

Osama bin Laden and the Taliban

Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid
By a Pakistani journalist who has interviewed several of the Taliban's leaders, this book is an account of how the fundamentalist group rose to power in Afghanistan after the Soviets withdrew in 1989, and why their repressive government was welcomed by many war-weary Afghans. Particular attention is given to the role of the opium and oil trades in the region.

Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America by Yossef Bodansky
A detailed biography of bin Laden and the militant Islamic fundamentalist milieu in which his terrorist network functions.

The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the Future of Terrorism
by Simon Reeve
Tracking the career of Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and his connections to Osama bin Laden. Written by a former Sunday Times of London writer.

Usama Bin Laden's Al-Qaida: Profile of a Terrorist Network by Yonah Alexander and Michael S. Swetnam
Although intended for a somewhat specialized audience of experts, this is a well-documented reference work about the activities of bin Laden's loose-knit web of terrorist cells.

Afghanistan and Central Asia

The Hidden War: A Russian Journalist's Account of the Soviet War in Afghanistan by Artyom Borovik
Borovik visited Afghanistan before and during the withdrawal of Soviet troops and pairs novel-like writing and momentum with lucid firsthand accounts of the dramatic and dreary business of fighting a ground war in the country's daunting terrain.

Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism by John K. Cooley
A foreign correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and ABC News relates the history of the U.S. relationship with Afghanistan during the Cold War and after.

An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan by Jason Elliot
A British journalist who has visited Afghanistan several times and fought alongside the mujahedin recalls the land he came to love in the years before Taliban rule.

The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk
A history of the struggle between Britain and Russia for control of Central Asia in the 19th century, this tale of espionage and intrigue shows how the fate of the peoples of Central Asia has long been toyed with in the strategic battles of world powers.


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