“Mark Hamm is, without doubt, the world’s leading expert on prison radicalization. Based on decades of research, this book presents a nuanced and sophisticated picture,. Beautifully written, it is the most complete, and the most empirically rigorous, account of this phenomenon to date. A must read for anyone interested in homegrown radicalization.”
—Peter Neumann, Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), King’s College London
The Madrid train bombers, shoe-bomber Richard Reid, al-Qaeda in Iraq, and the 9/11 attacks—all were led by men radicalized behind bars. Today’s prisons are hotbeds for personal transformation toward terrorist beliefs and actions due to the increasingly chaotic nature of prison life caused by mass incarceration. In The Spectacular Few, Mark Hamm, a former prison warden, demonstrates how prisoners use criminal cunning, collective resistance and nihilism to incite terrorism.
Drawing from a wide range of sources, The Spectacular Few imagines the texture of prisoners’ lives. Hamm covers their criminal thinking styles, the social networks that influenced them, and personal “turning points” that set them on the pathway to violent extremism. Hamm argues that in order to understand terrorism today, we must come to terms with how prisoners are treated behind bars.
**Mark S. Hamm **is a former prison warden from Arizona and currently Professor of Criminology at Indiana State University and a Senior Research Fellow at the Terrorism Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York. His books include Terrorism as Crime: From Oklahoma City to Al-Qaeda and Beyond (NYU Press, 2007).
Alternative Criminology series