"For those alarmed at the rise of atomistic, self-radicalized terrorists - deracinated individuals functioning as vigilantes of jihad - Caroline Picart's book offers both illumination and analytic clarity. Setting riveting narratives into powerfully explanatory theoretical contexts, she provides case studies of three notorious terrorists, Colleen LaRose ('Jihad Jane') and the Tsarnaev brothers, Tamerlan and Jahar, in each case detailing the role of the Internet in creating an alluring rhetoric of 'jihadi cool' that induced these troubled individuals to commit monstrous acts on behalf of violent movements with which they had little organizational contact. Picart's analysis provides tools essential to confronting the challenge posed by self-activating terrorists whose ability to do harm and alter history extends far beyond their numbers and resources."
Director, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press; Professor Emeritus of English, Fairleigh Dickinson University
"Understanding the evolution of self-activating terrorists is undoubtedly a complex task. Picart's timely book sets out the problems of any blanket preventative strategy by outlining the different factors at play through detailed and thorough case studies. The work provides not only a theoretical overview but also demonstrates the importance of individual circumstances and the role of high quality audio visual production values to create 'jihadi cool', both of which problematize a blanket policy approach. An engaging and detailed account that demonstrates the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to tackle this issue. There is something in this book for readers from a variety of disciplines - not just law, but also psychology, politics and media, amongst others. A valuable contribution to the field."
Deputy Head, School of Law, University of Westminster; Editor of the Entertainment and Sports Law Journal
"This excellent book provides readers with key insights into the radicalization of the Tsarnaev brothers and Colleen LaRose (a.k.a. Jihad Jane). Using a wealth of diverse artefactual materials from legal, cultural, media, and other sources, the author does a masterful job of explaining the evolutionary nature of some jihadist movements. At the same time she reminds us all of the heuristic value of comparative studies for mapping a host of rhetorical and material terrains. This is essential reading for anyone interested in self-radicalized terrorists and the mediated coverage of global jihadism."
Marouf A. Hasian, Jr.
Professor of Rhetoric and Communication, University of Utah
"Picart masterfully explores the enigma of self-radicalization by employing cutting-edge theories and methods. She demonstrates that American terrorists' paths to violence in America can only be charted with the tools of psychology, aesthetics, rhetoric, and technological and critical analysis. By lucidly exposing the roots of home-grown terrorism, this book reveals the challenges ahead for our society and legal system to address the origins of this violence. Picart's disturbing narratives lead us to an unsettling conclusion. Right now, we are indeed our own worst enemy."
Professor of Law, F.I.U. College of Law, Miami
"This impressive and thought-provoking book explores a topic that so far has been largely neglected and overlooked - namely, how and why terrorists become terrorists. Through a detailed study and multi-layered analysis of the causes and processes of so-called 'self-radicalized terrorism', Picart's book provides a critical eye-opener not only to the disciplines of criminology and law studies but also to American society as such. Quite simply, a must-read, must-understand and must-use book for anyone trying to come to terms with our contemporary age of terrorism."
Michael Hviid Jacobsen
Professor of Sociology, Aalborg University
"How and why do some of us become 'monsters'? Devoid of sentimentalism, rage, judgment or moralizing, this captivating, thought-provoking book offers a richly detailed account of renowned cases of American self-radicalization that culminated in murderous acts of terror. The book's close scrutiny of these tragic cases reveals how deep personal frustration combined with familial instability, as well as exposure to internet propaganda and susceptibility to 'jihadi cool', may lead some of us from self-radicalized thought to heinous action. As in a truly gripping thriller, even as all is systematically revealed, the horror remains."
Professor of Law and Culture, The Israeli Center for Human Dignity
"Caroline Picart's American Self-Radicalizing Terrorists and the Allure of Jihadi Cool/Chic is a fascinating look into the world of lone wolf terrorism. Through meticulous research and an engaging writing style, Picart unravels the dynamics of this growing threat. The case studies included in the book are compelling and provides new and important insights into how and why certain individuals become lone wolf terrorists. Definitely a book everyone should read."
Jeffrey D. Simon
Author of Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growing Threat (2016)
"Picart's timely comparative study offers an accessible examination of the dynamics at work within U.S. jihadism. Challenging stage theories of radicalization, she illuminates the complex intertwining of 'monster talk' and 'jihadi cool' rhetoric, social media, and the imagination in the formation of radicalized self-understanding and the rationalization of action befitting this imagined and stylized form of self."
Associate Professor of Criminology, University of Ottawa