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Fear Less.

Fear Less by Gavin de Becker, Little, Brown and Company, New York, New York, 2002.


According to its author, Fear Less brings forth the real truth about risk, safety, and security in a time of terrorism. Gavin de Becker is a nationally recognized expert in the prediction of violence and in the response to threats. The book, written in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, collects, in a comprehensive way, the concerns that Americans have been struggling with since that fateful day. In short, the author attempts to bring to the forefront the issues that citizens of a free nation must consider and resolve not only to have the feelings of safety but also to actually be safe.

As in his previous books, Gift of Fear and Protecting the Gift, the author has shown, in vivid detail, why individuals sometimes are fearful and how that fear can become their greatest ally in the battle between good and evil, safety and danger. Acknowledging that fear is present and helpful for society's collective survival, the author connects the aspect of intuition as the mechanism that allows individuals to manage their fears and, thus, their responses. The author writes in a conversational style, much like that of a consultant, and is thoughtful and forthright in his appraisals of security measures and evaluations of risks and fears. He looks at both sides of the controversy and does not hesitate to point out false assumptions and remedies offered by others while, at the same time, offering new solutions.

Terrorism is not new to this country, and the author provides a historical and factual accounting of the many terrorist acts committed against the United States over the years, some of which have not been widely reported or remembered. He provides some experiences and tools that the reader may not have considered in helping to answer the questions about America's safety and future. The book is divided into logical chapters that give a no-nonsense review of many issues leading to the answer to such tough questions as whether air travel can be safe and how to talk to children about terrorism. The book also gives an up-to-date and comprehensive listing of Web sites and straightforward descriptions of terrorist activities, such as biological, chemical, and nonmilitary nuclear attacks, as well as evaluating the credible threat and warning signs. The author couples many factual and important information items with critical looks at the media and the newspeak of fear. While the electronic media has not always found favor with the author's opinions, they, nevertheless, have been willing to give great exposure to this work.

Readers will find Fear Less very thought provoking with the information offered and the way it is presented. While written for the average citizen, law enforcement professionals from every level of service will find it useful. Armed with the knowledge and philosophy of this book, officers should find it easier to accurately and intelligently speak to the prevalent fears of the citizens they serve. One concept that the author firmly believes in is the recognition of preincident indicators and how to interpret and internalize them for maximum safety and results. The book offers an indepth analysis of the safety of air travel, the pitfalls associated with the airline industry, as well as concrete and attainable solutions to eliminate this facet of terrorist activity. Other chapters explore how the average person can become a critical element in combating terrorism by being an antiterrorist as a messenger of intuition and studying the architecture of conspiracy.

Fear Less presents the timeliest response to the many issues facing Americans today in this new world following the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Readers from all walks of life and professions will find this book appealing. This is one of those books that readers will recommend to friends, family members, and colleagues. It represents an important work that makes sense of all that is occurring in this unsettled world and helps all citizens actually fear less.

Reviewed by Rex J. Rakow

Director of Security and Police

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Indiana
COPYRIGHT 2004 Federal Bureau of Investigation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Rakow, Rex J.
Publication:The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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