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The Ultimate Terrorists

The Ultimate Terrorists

Jessica Stern

ISBN 9780674003941

Publication date: 10/02/2000

As bad as they are, why aren't terrorists worse? With biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons at hand, they easily could be. And, as this chilling book suggests, they soon may well be. A former member of the National Security Council staff, Jessica Stern guides us expertly through a post-Cold War world in which the threat of all-out nuclear war, devastating but highly unlikely, is being replaced by the less costly but much more imminent threat of terrorist attacks with weapons of mass destruction.

According to SternThe Ultimate Terrorists depicts a not-very-distant future in which both independent and state-sponsored terrorism using weapons of mass destruction could actually occur. But Stern also holds out hope for new technologies that might combat this trend, and for legal and political remedies that would improve public safety without compromising basic constitutional rights.


  • [Stern's] research is breathtakingly thorough, and the prose, so often describing complex technological detail, surprisingly lucid. The era of 'the ultimate terrorists', implying nuclear, biological or chemical weapons may not yet have dawned in any real sense, but the potential and the danger, as this book illustrates, are all too obvious...[Stern] has written a valuable book that should serve as a timely warning about a potentially dreadful future.

    —Sean O'Callaghan, The Times


  • Jessica Stern teaches at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and is a former member of the staff of the National Security Council, where she ran the Nuclear Smuggling Interagency group as director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian affairs.

Book Details

  • 224 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press