Terrorism on American Soil

Terrorism on American Soil

A Concise History of Plots and Perpetrators from the Famous to the Forgotten

Joseph T. McCann, PsyD, JD

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 led most Americans to feel that we are no longer safe. However, terrorism is not a new phenomenon in America. This book chronicles 37 assaults on U.S. soil.


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The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 led most American citizens to feel that we are no longer safe and secure in our communities. However, terrorism is not a new phenomenon in the United States. This book chronicles 37 such assaults on American soil from the end of the Civil War to the present day. Not only are the most infamous attacks discussed but events that are obscure and relatively unknown yet fascinating are detailed as well.

These accounts illustrate important lessons about the changing nature of terrorism, methods for coping with the threat, and the psychological, political, and legal principles that help us understand the issues involved.

Not a technical or scholarly treatise, Terrorism on American Soil deals with this provocative subject in a highly readable style, using a narrative case-study format that has been successful in the popular true crime genre. The author provides details of the perpetrators, their motives, and the sociopolitical context, in which each event took place, offering a new perspective on the attacks.

Joseph McCann is a clinical and forensic psychologist, an attorney, and an expert on terrorism. He teaches about the psychological and legal aspects of terrorism at State University of New York, serves as a member of his regional terrorism and emergency preparedness committee, and is a consultant to law enforcement agencies on terrorist matters.


Praise for Terrorism on American Soil


"Dr. McCann drives homes the context for understanding uniquely American issues in terrorism. His approach brings freshness to an area that has far too many 'me-too' books. I want all the law enforcement, human resource and counterintelligence professionals I train to read it."

—James T. Turner, Ph.D., President,
International Assessment Services, Inc, and co-author of
Threat Assessment: A Risk Management Approach

“Few terrorism experts seem aware that the history of American terrorism goes any earlier than the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. McCann's book helps fill the gap by surveying major terrorist acts on American soil and shows why we can't afford to ignore history in our efforts to end the brutalities of modern terrorism.”

—Ann Larabee, author, The Dynamite Fiend

“Deftly chronicling over three dozen cases from the 1865 assassination of Abraham Lincoln to the anthrax mail attacks that rocked the nation in 2001, this unique book places 9/11 and the modern threat of terrorism in appropriate historical and cultural context. A compelling and fascinating blend of history and psychology, Terrorism on American Soil is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the historical antecedents and causes of the terror threat America faces today. McCann's thorough, lucid and exceptionally well-reasoned historical analysis of terrorism in the United States gives new and urgent meaning to the old adage that those ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.”

—Charles Patrick Ewing, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor, State University of New York

“Americans are facing a new era of terrorism. This masterful work by Professor McCann provides psychologically astute insights into the thinking and motivation of those who have fomented, instigated and executed these horrific acts. Presenting over three dozen case history tragedies on the U.S. mainland, he begins with the shocking assassination of Lincoln, progresses to the 9/11 World Trade Center holocaust, and then beyond. Every American will be intrigued and illuminated by reading this important and fascinating book.”

—Theodore Millon, Ph.D., D. Sc., Dean and Scientific Director, Institute for Advanced Studies in Personology and Psychopathology

Additional information

Product Format


Page Count

336 pages


6 x 9 in.