First edition cover

The Terrorism Lectures, 2nd Edition (2015)
A Comprehensive Collection for Students of Terrorism, Counterterrorism, and National Security

Dr. James J. F. Forest


The Terrorism Lectures is a collection of timely and engaging lessons directly from the classroom of terrorism expert Dr. James J. F. Forest. The book and accompanying online materials delve into the history of terrorism, its root causes, its many forms and organizations, as well as the frameworks that analysts use to determine the scope of a terrorist threat.

ISBN: 978-1-940503-06-6
$39.99 | 408 pp. | A Paperback Original

The new edition includes:

  • Larger trim size for easier reading
  • More images
  • Updated material on Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL, Boston bombing, and other recent developments
  • An added chapter on lone-wolf actors
  • Complete PowerPoints for easy adoption

If you are an instructor, please request your free desk or exam copy at this e-mail: contact [at]

If you are a student, you may purchase a discounted copy at this link

Click for Table of Contents




  1. An Introduction to Terrorism: Terms, Definitions, and the Quest for Power
  2. Surfing the Historical “Waves” of Terrorism
  3. Terrorist Groups as Learning Organizations


  1. Grievances and Opportunities: An Introduction
  2. Engagement, Recruitment, and Radicalization
  3. Media and the Internet
  4. Economic Dimensions
  5. Financial and Criminal Dimensions
  6. Political Dimensions


  1. Ethnonationalist/Separatist Terrorism
  2. Left-Wing Terrorism
  3. Right-Wing Terrorism
  4. Religious Terrorism


  1. Al-Qaeda, Part I: History and Evolution
  2. Al-Qaeda, Part II: Ideology and Targeting Strategies
  3. “Do-It-Yourself” Terrorism: Teams and Lone Actors
  4. Suicide Bombings
  5. Weapons of Mass Destruction: An Introduction
  6. Assessing the WMD Terrorist Threat


  1. The Future of Terrorism


Teaching tools

  • Complete Instructor PowerPoints
  • Desk copies
  • Discussion questions
  • Leveled for college and advanced high school

Praise for The Terrorism Lectures

“James Forest has done what only great teachers can do—provide a comprehensive look at a complicated topic while distilling the key themes that animate the discipline. This guided tour through the intellectual landscape of terrorism studies provides an accessible road map for the new-comer and some open road for the journeyman to explore. Synthesis of this kind is invaluable for teachers as well as students, and can only be arrived at by an expert in the field.” —Bill Braniff, Executive Director, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, University of Maryland

“A truly comprehensive and wonderfully accessible terrorism course all contained in a single text. James Forest provides an enormous service to students and teachers of terrorism alike.” —John Horgan, Director, International Center for the Study of Terrorism, Penn State University

Dr. James Forest is one of the most prolific contemporary authors on terrorism and counterterrorism topics and his latest offering—The Terrorism Lectures—is his best. The Terrorism Lectures is topical, informative, interesting, and most importantly, highly relevant to today’s complicated international security environment which is dominated by nefarious terrorist organizations intent on attacking the United States. The Terrorism Lectures provides the reader both the tool set with which to build a basic understanding of terrorism and the master mechanic to guide the reader through the process. Brilliantly researched and written, The Terrorism Lectures provides the reader with a personal tutorial delivered by one of the nation’s most articulate and gifted lecturers.” —Russell D. Howard, Brigadier General (Retired) and Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the Monterey Institute of International Studies

“In The Terrorism Lectures, James Forest provides a refreshing approach as well as an excellent and current contribution to terrorism studies. Blending intellectual and scholarly insights with wit and candidness, Forest has created a comprehensive yet incredibly accessible resource—one that serves as an exceptional learning tool while also providing the reader with a conversational experience that stretches across the various dimensions and aspects of terrorism.” —Jennifer Giroux, Center of Security Studies, ETH Zurich

“James Forest is a pillar of the academic study of terrorism and counterterrorism whose more than a dozen books and volumes are essential readings in the field. InThe Terrorism Lectures, Forest yet again provides an extraordinary service to instructors and students of terrorism studies alike. Comprehensive, logically structured, up-to-date, and highly accessible, The Terrorism Lectures is a fantastic work of synthesis, massive in both scope and insights.” —Assaf Moghadam, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, and author of The Globalization of Martyrdom

“This is a great, very accessible overview for students of terrorism studies!” —Annette Idler, Doctoral Candidate, University of Oxford

About the author

Dr. James J. F. Forest

Dr. James J. F. Forest

James J.F. Forest, Ph.D., is Professor and Director of the Security Studies program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is also a Senior Fellow with the U.S. Joint Special Operations University, and was previously the Director of Terrorism Studies at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point. He has taught courses and seminars for a broad range of civilian, law enforcement, and military audiences in several countries. He has also published 20 books and dozens of journal articles, served as an expert witness for terrorism-related court cases, and testified before members of Congress.