Francesco Benigno pulls apart the stereotypical image of the terrorist, identified in public opinion as an Islamic fundamentalist inspired by religious motives. Instead, he reconstructs the historical development of political violence beginning with the events of 1793-94, when "revolutionary terrorism" was born, a strategy which sought to mobilise the community sympathetic to its ideas and use terrorism as a means of combatting a stronger enemy. After the various attacks in the 19th century, inspired by nationalist ideas or anarchist propaganda, the 20th century was characterised by widespread forms of terror which did not distinguish between political/military targets and civilians. Benigno’s analysis, based on a rich variety of sources, tends to privilege events and provides an almost encyclopaedic account of them, and so occasionally runs the risk of lumping together different phenomena. It is a stimulating, and at the same time contradictory work, maybe as a result of its excessive ambitions.
Keywords: Terror, Terrorism, Violence, Counterterrorism