Talking to the Enemy by Scott Atran
Violent Extremism, Sacred Values, and What It Means to Be Human. Scott Atran

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"Talking to the Enemy" is an intellectually and personally courageous exploration of one of the most contentious issues of modern times. Scott Atran has spent years talking to terrorists - from Gaza and Afghanistan, to Indonesia and Europe - in order to help us understand and mitigate the rise of religious violence. Here he argues persuasively that we need to consider terrorists' close relationships, with family and friends, as much as the causes they espouse, and delivers a fascinating journey into the mindsets of radicalised people in the twenty-first century. Along the way, he also provides deep insights into the history of all religions, and into their evolutionary origins. He shows us, above all, how we have come to be human. More than any other book, "Talking to the Enemy" invites us to empathise; it is itself the best possible example of how to do it.

About Scott Atran

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Scott Atran is a director of research in anthropology at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, France. He is also a research associate and visiting professor in psychology and public policy at the University of Michigan, a Presidential Scholar in sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and cofounder of ARTIS Research and Risk Modeling. His books include In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion.
Published November 1, 2010 by Allen Lane. 576 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality.

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Whereas armchair rationalists such as Sam Harris are happy to generalise that the parents of suicide bombers feel "tremendous pride", Atran, who's interviewed dozens, can write: "I have yet to meet parents who would not have done anything in their power to stop their child from such an act."

Feb 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Talking to the Enemy: Violent...

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