Speculative but deeply informed on context: Trust Juan Cole to provide a more nuanced analysis of the Chechen/Muslim matrix at the back of the Boston bombings. The novels of Conrad and Turgenev and Dostoevsky tell us more about the psychology of terrorism than a lot of the current media outlets.
The anger and embarrassment visible in the interviews given on Friday by the uncle and the aunt of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, are entirely understandable.
But I see clues here to family dynamics that may be important in understanding what happened. In Ivan Turgenev’s 1862, novel, “Fathers and Sons,” the old man’s son, Arkady, comes back home after studies with a friend, Bazarov, after both had adopted the radical philosophy of Nihilism. Their radicalism roiled the family for a while, until Bazarov’s death. (Later, in 1881, Nihilists assassinated Tsar Alexander II).