The Price of Paradise: How the Suicide Bomber Shaped the Modern Age by Iain Overton – review
An attempt to understand suicide attackers, from 19th-century Russia to the modern-day Middle East, is timely and informative
I vividly recall the first suicide bombing I reported on for the Observer. It was in Jerusalem’s Jaffa Road, one of the main shopping streets, in 2002. A 28-year-old Palestinian woman, Wafa Idris, had killed an 81-year-old Israeli man, Pinhas Tokatli, as well as herself and injuring scores more.
The last one I covered was in Iraq in 2007, in the town of Tal Afar, where a 19-year-old Sunni bomber had barged his way into the wedding feast of a Shia police officer who lived around the corner from him, killing four people including two children. I’ve covered other appalling scenes of violence, but I’ve always been struck by a special horror when confronted by the aftermath of a suicide attack; by the shocking intimacy involved.