Home Grown: How Domestic Violence Turns Men Into Terrorists

Smith, Joan


Terrorism begins at home. In the debate about what makes a terrorist, a striking common factor has been long overlooked – a history of domestic violence. From the Manchester bomber, who was known to police for assaulting a woman, to the London Bridge attackers, who abused their wives, mothers, and sisters, the portrait is shockingly clear. Terrorism is seen as a special category of crime that has blinded us to the obvious – that it is, almost always, male violence. It belongs alongside cases such as the Finsbury Park Mosque attacker and the Florida school shooter – privately abusive men whose public outbursts cost lives. But the greatest proof lies in ISIS, who deliberately recruit youths who have been indoctrinated into cruelty and rape. ‘Home Grown’ is a manifesto. With scouring perception, she sets out a course of action that could transform the way we counteract domestic abuse and save lives.

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What do the attacks in London Bridge, Manchester and Westminster have in common with those at the Charlie Hebdo offices, the Finsbury Park Mosque attack and multiple US shootings?

They were all carried out by men with histories of domestic violence.


Terrorism is seen as a special category of crime that has blinded us to the obvious – that it is, almost always, male violence. The extraordinary link between so many tragic recent attacks is that the perpetrators have practised in private before their public outbursts.

In these searing case studies, Joan Smith, feminist and human rights campaigner, makes a compelling and persuasive argument for a radical shift in perspective. Incomprehensible ideology is transformed through her clear-eyed research into a disturbing but familiar pattern.

From the Manchester bomber to the Charlie Hebdo attackers, from angry white men to the Bethnal Green girls, from US school shootings to the London gang members who joined ISIS, Joan Smith shows that, time and time again, misogyny, trauma and abuse lurk beneath the rationalizations of religion or politics.

Until Smith pointed it out in 2017, criminal authorities missed this connection because violence against women is dangerously normalised. Yet, since domestic abuse often comes before a public attack, it’s here a solution to the scourge of our age might be found. Thought-provoking and essential, Home-Grown will lift the veil on a revelatory truth.

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Weight0.22 kg
Dimensions19.6 × 12.8 × 2.4 cm