Where Do Terrorists in the US Come From?: Background information when reading A Good Country

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Good Country

by Laleh Khadivi

A Good Country by Laleh Khadivi X
A Good Country by Laleh Khadivi
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2017, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2018, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kate Braithwaite

Buy This Book

About this Book

Where Do Terrorists in the US Come From?

This article relates to A Good Country

Print Review

As detailed in Lalehi Kadivi's novel, A Good Country, the Boston Marathon Bombing took place on April 15, 2013. Three people were killed and over 260 others were injured including at least 16 who lost limbs. Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tzarnaev, two brothers aged 24 and 19, had manufactured home made bombs contained in pressure cookers which exploded near the marathon finish line. Tamerlan died in the subsequent manhunt, but his younger brother Dzhokhar was tried for his part in the atrocity and has been sentenced to death by lethal injection. Both brothers originate from the Chechnian region of Russia and immigrated to the United States as children in 2002. Their family claimed political asylum.

Along with this very real terrorist attack, Kadivi's novel also includes a fictional gunman opening fire in the South Coast Plaza, a large shopping mall in Costa Mesa, California. The incident is recorded partly in chilling statistics: "Eighty-three dead. Twelve children. Six attackers. Two Yemeni men, two Iraqi women, a brother and sister from Saudi Arabia. Three of them asylum seekers. Three American born."

Both of these incidents - true and fictional - reflect a key concern in modern America. Where do terrorists come from? Have they entered the country legally or illegally? Are they asylum seekers? Or are these "home-grown" terrorists radicalized by Islamic extremists operating within mosques or praying on vulnerable people via the internet? Talk of Muslim bans and extreme vetting procedures have dominated the headlines in the last year and the travel ban introduced by the new Trump Administration in January 2017 prompted many articles offering statistical analysis of the threat of terrorism on US soil.

In January 2017, Business Insider published a table of the odds on a wide-range of causes of death for Americans. Among its findings, it noted that compared to the likelihood of being killed by a terrorist posing as a refugee, Americans are, in fact, 260 times more likely to be struck and killed by lightning, and 407,000 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident.

Also in January 2017, The Atlantic reported on the research of Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute. Nowrasteh's focus is on the then seven countries identified in the first version of the travel ban: Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iraq (although Iraq was removed in later iterations of the ban). He found that the number of people killed in terrorist attacks in the US, carried out by nationals of those seven countries between 1975 and 2015, was zero.

For many though, the prospect of home-grown terrorists is more alarming; people like Omar Matteen, who killed 19 people in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016. Matten was born in New York and was an American citizen, the son of Afgan immigrants. In April 2017, the Director of Homeland Security, Secretary Kelly, said that there have been 36 cases of homegrown terrorism in the last year, taking place in 18 different states.

A home-grown terrorist act is an atrocity committed by a person in his or her country of birth, against his fellow citizens. It is important to note, therefore, that home-grown or domestic terror is not confined to individuals radicalized either directly or indirectly by groups like the Islamic State. Additionally, the vast majority of the many thousands of hate crimes each year are conducted by citizens. There is a fine line between hate crimes and terrorism with the latter defined by the US Code of Federal Regulations as "the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives," whereas in a hate crime a victim is targeted because of his or her characteristics. An April 2017 article on CNN offers interesting statistics on the topic.

This "beyond the book article" relates to A Good Country. It originally ran in May 2017 and has been updated for the September 2018 paperback edition.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Vita Nostra
    Vita Nostra
    by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
    Vita Nostra by Ukrainian authors Sergey and Marina Dyachenko is one of those novels that defies ...
  • Book Jacket: And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    by Patrick Ness
    Patrick Ness has developed a reputation for experimental literature executed well, and his latest, ...
  • Book Jacket: Let It Bang
    Let It Bang
    by RJ Young
    Every interracial love story is an exercise in complications. R.J. Young and Lizzie Stafford's ...
  • Book Jacket: A Spark of Light
    A Spark of Light
    by Jodi Picoult
    The central premise of A Spark of Light involves a gunman holding hostages within the confines of a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Paris Echo
    by Sebastian Faulks

    A story of resistance, complicity, and an unlikely, transformative friendship.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    A Ladder to the Sky
    by John Boyne

    A seductive, unputdownable psychodrama following one brilliant, ruthless man.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Severance

Severance by Ling Ma

An offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire that is featured on more than twenty 2018 "Must Read" lists!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Ain't O U T F L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.