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Small ArmsSmall Arms

Children and Terrorism

Mia Bloom

Narrated by Andrea Watkins Palacio

Available from Audible

Book published by Cornell University Press

Why do terrorist organizations use children to support their cause and carry out their activities? Small Arms uncovers the brutal truth behind the mobilization of children by terrorist groups.

Mia Bloom and John Horgan show us the grim underbelly of society that allows and even encourages the use of children to conduct terrorist activities. They provide readers with the who, what, when, why, and how of this increasingly concerning situation, illuminating a phenomenon that to most of us seems abhorrent. And yet, they argue, for terrorist groups the use of children carries many benefits. Children possess skills that adults lack. They often bring innovation and creativity. Children are, in fact, a superb demographic from which to recruit if you are a terrorist.

Small Arms answers questions about recruitment strategies and tactics, determines what makes a child terrorist and what makes him or her different from an adult one, and charts the ways in which organizations use them. The unconventional focus on child and youth militants allows the authors to, in essence, give us a biography of the child terrorist and the organizations that use them. We are taken inside the mind of the adult and the child to witness that which perhaps most scares us.

Mia Bloom is a Canadian academic and author and Professor of Communication at Georgia State University.


“Drawing on a wide body of case studies, the authors examine the many ways child soldiers are drawn into their roles—which, in the end, usually turn out to be as cannon fodder.... Of interest to military planners as well as workers in the humanitarian aid/NGO sphere.”

Kirkus Reviews

Small Arms is a timely book on a critical and long-neglected subject. Mia Bloom and John Horgan's multidisciplinary approach, comprehensive research, and impressive field work paint a compelling picture of the indoctrination and exploitation of children by terrorists worldwide and sheds new light on this odious and, sadly, increasingly prevalent phenomenon.”

—Bruce Hoffman, Georgetown University and author of Inside Terrorism

“Mia Bloom and John Horgan, among the world's foremost scholars of terrorism, address the horrific terrorist practice of training children to murder adults. They examine the pressing question of how states can reintegrate these children, if and when they return from the battlefield. Highly recommended for anyone interested in how terrorism and terrorists evolve.”

—Jessica Stern, Boston University, and author of Terror in the Name of God

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University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks