Book Review: Understanding Political Violence by V. Ruggiero

Published: 2007

Mackenzie, S., (2007), Review of 'Understanding Political Violence by Vincenzo Ruggiero', Crime Media Culture August 2007 vol. 3 no. 2 240-242, doi: 10.1177/17416590070030020703.


This is an elegant book of some philosophical breadth masquerading as a student textbook. The editor of the ‘Understanding’ series of Crime and Justice textbooks hints at this in his Foreword, describing what follows as an ‘unusual and challenging book’. Quite so, I would say, and much the better for it. It does bear pointing out though that while it is a deep and thoughtful analysis of its subject, the book is not instantly recognizable as a student text (bar the cover). Given that the book is part of a series clearly aimed at a student audience I will try to bring out here some of the criticisms I imagine students, and perhaps teachers, might level at it, but this should be seen against the overall ‘bottom line’ of this review which is that the author has produced a very nice book which repays careful reading and sets the theoretical tone for some interesting lines of future research in the field….