Before the 9/11 the studies on “terrorism” remained confined among a small group of academics who mostly investigated motives and connections with the superpowers ideology and the Cold War. Already in the 1970s there were few University or private institutes operating in the sector, both at the service of some government or independent, who addressed the issue “political violence” in a professional manner. Nevertheless the result of the research was always addressed to those who he had to deal with it and rarely this information passes into the public domain. The investigation into the origin of terrorism embraced the political and military history, social science and even psychology, but never ascended to teaching tout court. After the attack on the Twin Towers, there was a significant change of course and we have witnessed a flowering of institutions, organizations, study groups that have placed as a primary subject of their research Islamist terrorism and Middle Eastern affairs. As a result there was an overproduction of “gray literature”, i.e. material published on the Internet, viewed and downloaded online. From this multiplication of studies and scholars, more or less serious, new professionals have been born once only traceable in spy movies like “Three Days of the Condor”. For example, just referring to the mentioned films, we recall the profession of a young Robert Redford that covered the role of a OSINT researcher (Open Source Intelligence) entangled in one conspiracies hatched by the CIA. In light of the product by historians on terrorism (doubled in recent years) this short paper is intended to try to differentiate some professionalism and delimit and broaden their fields of inquiry without forgetting the largest section, the storytellers who flock to the web pages and newspapers.


The profession of the historian finds in the pages of Marc Bloch’s “Historian’s Craft” the intellectual base for the delicate work of investigating our past. The scholar of Lyon, who along with Lucien Febvre founded the historical journal “Les Annales,” claimed as the story was the “science of men in time” and that a historian should base the story of the facts on a careful analysis of the sources, whether they oral, both paper. Bloch did not have today’s media and its formation took place on the dusty benches of the archives.