Talking to Terrorists, By Peter Taylor

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The Independent Culture

Drawing on 40 years reporting, the BBC's investigative reporter has produced an engrossing account of ruthless fanaticism. Starting with the IRA ("glaring inequalities... were the dry tinder"), Taylor provides insightful accounts of victims, interrogators and terrorists.

Visiting Al-Qaeda's breeding grounds, such as "fearsome" Sidi Moumen near Casablanca, Taylor notes "people who have nothing, have nothing to lose". But this did not apply to the "clean skins" that attacked London: "The families of the bombers were devastated."

Taylor reminds us that a second wave of death was only foiled due to technical flaws in the bombs. He concludes that Irish lessons could be applied even to Al-Qaeda: "Talking to terrorists may... be the only way forward."