Before Terror Strikes

Learn the Tactical Mindsets and Skillsets Necessary to Survive a Terrorist Event Before It Occurs

Non-Fiction - General
166 Pages
Reviewed on 05/02/2013
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Author Biography

William Michael Seddon Sr., Certified Anti-Terrorism Specialist, served in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps for 13.5 years. He was involved in the 1976 evacuation of 305 Americans in Beiruit, Lebanon. He was a Marine Training Instructor and is the founder of 7th Stratagem, an anti/counterterrorism consulting company. A former USA Olympic-style boxing coach and a former Philadelphia high school Fine Art teacher, he holds a master's degree in psychotherapy from Drexel University. On 9/11 he volunteered as a rescuer for the Fire Department of New York City. He is the International Book Award winning author and illustrator of BEFORE TERROR STRIKES. Mr. Seddon has three sons, two of whom are former U.S. Marines, and twin granddaughters. He lives in Philadelphia, PA.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Martina Svyantek for Readers' Favorite

With all of the violent events occurring across the world, William Michael Seddon Sr. offers readers a helpful guide on how to react and survive a terrorist event in “Before Terror Strikes.” This well-outlined book covers different factors to consider in potentially life-threatening situations, as well as what forms those situations might take. The beginning of the book puts the reader into different mindsets – that of the unobservant herd member and that of an alert observer, asking, “Which do you choose to be?” The skill sets discussed are also vitally important to remaining aware of threats and what individuals can do to be less of a target. The handy list of recommended items for a “GO-BAG” might be considered cumbersome, but each is an effective tool to use in case one has to leave an area at a moment’s notice. The skill sets that readers are advised to enhance are those of evasive maneuvers and situational awareness, keeping in mind that these are merely tools that need to be correctly used to be effective.

Though this book does not deal with simple, easy-to-plan-for events, it does offer guidance on making tactical decisions in crisis situations. And, to be quite honest, it was refreshing to have the book’s tone to be one of preparation, not solution; I would be highly skeptical of any book offering all the answers on safety during a terrorist event. The few suggestions on how to keep calm and carry on while making tactical choices are very helpful.

Lucy Jones

I purchased the e-book first and was stunned with the delivery of the information in the book. There are a lot of books on the subject matter of anti/counterterrorism out there. Other authors are talking about the history of terrorism, psychology of terrorists, etc. This book is different. The author not only focused on mindset of terrorists, but also on developing mindsets of the people who can be victims of terrorist attacks. It can be anyone.
The author teaches how to think to outsmart the enemy. He had a lot of experience and did an extensive research and put together unique skillsets that anyone can learn to avoid being a victim of terrorists.
It was fascinating to learn those skillsets, especially since every day something happens somewhere in the US and the world: whether it is shooting in the mall, suicide bombing of subways, or … the recent Boston marathon bombing. The skills that I learned from this book can be applied anywhere and any time.
It is a compact manual with a lot of images, and I am a visual person. If something like that happens, I know that I will not remember all the instructions being under pressure and stress, that is why the images and diagrams are of most value to me, because that is what I will remember.
I ordered the hard copy as well and was impressed with the quality of the book: laminated hard cover with snow-white paper. The front cover looks like a very intriguing piece of art (designed by the author as well). It makes a great gift! I am ordering more copies for my loved ones.


We live in the era of terror where 90% of terrorist attacks worldwide and 80% within the US for the past 4 years have been committed by Islamic radical terrorists.
We can’t always rely on the government to protect us, especially when the FBI is not trained properly since their training manuals are watered down not to even mention Islamic radical terrorists.
This manual teaches everyone from an average citizen, like me, to an elite professional how to prevent yourself from getting into a life-threatening situations by knowing how our enemy thinks or acts, and what to look for to identify the enemy. Prevent terror attacks before they occur! And even if you got caught in the middle of it, learn what to do to less likely get seriously injured or killed.
The author dedicates the first half of the manual to building and developing our mindset – a very important aspect- since a lot of people live in a very innocent bubble, in the la-la-land, not even thinking that there is any threat out there.
The other half of the book covers a wide range of skillsets for many case scenarios such as:
- What to do of someone throws a hand grenade or sprays automatic weapons fire
- What to do if you are under the sniper fire
- What to do when there is a mass shooter
- Safety while travelling on a subway or train when there are suicide bombers targeting it, and others
I came back from the trip to Russia where I had to travel by trains and metro in Moscow. That is one of the targeted areas by Chechen extremists and terrorists.
The knowledge and the input that this book provides is invaluable. It creates the sense of situational awareness. I saw the city through different lenses: I took the steps described in the manual while travelling by subway.
It feels much safer knowing that you can take certain steps to decrease your chance of getting hurt or killed if something happens.
People think all bad things happen to someone else. But it can happen to anyone, any time and anywhere! We all go shopping, to the malls, to movies, take trains, park cars on parking lots.
I am grateful for the professional training that William Michael Seddon Sr provides in his book.
I have no military training. I am a civilian, an average citizen. Yet I was able to understand important tactical aspects while reading this manual. The glossary was also very helpful and informative.


Well researched material put together by a professional, a former Marine instructor who was training the US Marines on the same subject matter of anti/counterterrorism.
What impressed me the most is the practical part of the book. The author experienced and well researched and studied the past attacks by terrorists and came up with innovative, yet logical skillsets that are applicable to the current events every day.
Parents, depending on the age of your children, talk to them, inform them, images are easy to remember and discuss.
When you are in the middle of a life-threatening situation, you might not remember the theoretical part of what to do. That’s when the visual images come in handy!
We need to become more like the civil society in Israel with our anti/counterterrorism measures!


THUMBS UP! This no ordinary book! It can save your life! I am a civilian and your average citizen, and like most people, I go shopping, go to malls and take trains. However, until I read this book, I was oblivious to my everyday surroundings and assumed like most people that I am safe. Most people, including myself, watch the news and know that being safe is far from reality. We are all vulnerable to being attacked by terrorists at and time or place. We must not forget 911 and all the many innocent lives that were lost. This book will prepare you and give you the skills you need in the event you are ever in a life-threatening situation. This is one of the most impressive and important book I have ever read and I highly recommend it . I am most impressed with the author and his experience and professionalism.

Grady Harp, To

An Insider's Advice on being prepared

Not everyone can place a book of this nature before the public without being labeled a fear monger or worse, but the threat of terrorist activities is ever-present and to ignore that fact and just whistle along a path that may just possibly be a snag in your life is ignoring the possibilities that most assuredly do exist. Had this book been available BEFORE 9/11, the Boston Marathon tragedy, or the many other small but threatening acts of terrorism, real and aborted, we hear about both in this country and around the glob, perhaps some lives could have been spared.
The major significance of this book lies in the credentials of the author and they bear repeating in a review: William Michael Seddon Sr., M.S., Certified Anti-Terrorism Specialist, served in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps for over 13 years. He was a Marine Training Instructor and is the founder of 7th Stratagem, an anti/counterterrorism consulting company. A former USA Olympic-style boxing coach, he holds a master's degree in psychotherapy. While serving in the Navy, he was deployed on amphibious operations, one involving the 1976 evacuation of 305 Americans from civil war in Beirut, Lebanon. He conducted operations in the Caribbean Sea, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Port-au-Prince, Haiti; reenlisted into the United States Marine Corps for approximately nine and half years, earning the highest rank of Staff Sergeant; and was assigned tactical training instructor. He was involved in joint operations with the U.S. Border Patrol, in immigration and international drug interdiction in Sonora Desert's tri-borders: Mexico, Arizona, and California's Chocolate Mountain range, where illegal border crossers used dangerous border crossing routes encompassing over 500 square miles of bombing ranges. The Colombian and Mexican drug cartels executed high-risk breaches by recklessly crossing bombing ranges--treacherous terrain the Marines called the dark side of the moon. On September 11, 2001, he volunteered as a rescuer for the Fire Department of New York City at the "Piles." `
What follows in this well laid out and design book is terse information about how to make ourselves aware of the fact that acts of terrorism are a true possibility. Seddon outlines the times of the year and the places most likely targeted by terrorists and why, and then proceeds to inform us how to change our mindsets to be vigilant, understanding the factors that surround the thinking of a terrorist, and how to train ourselves to be cognizant of the tricks of the terrorists' actions that may be avoidable if we are mentally prepared. He carefully diagrams how fragments of bombs flair and how to be below the danger zone, how to assess the various potentially vulnerable spaces where terrorists could attack and understand the safe points, and other important points of advice and information to protect ourselves and those around us.This book is not written to be a scare tactic and that is where Seddon departs from other `tracts' that are passed out by police and agencies. This is common sense preparation that once learned becomes part of our normal reaction patterns - patterns that are offered to keep us safe.

D. Buxman,

 An Invaluable Resource for Troubled Times

Before Terror Strikes is a book that won't waste your time on superfluous information. It offers a direct approach to developing a tactical mindset, while also offering some excellent practical information that I've never seen anywhere else. It's not a compendium of facts and statistics, but rather something more along the lines of The Art of War, with brief and thought provoking observations that could end up saving your life. I've read numerous survival manuals, but few do as good a job of presenting the nuts and bolts of how to develop the mindset necessary to increase the odds of survival in a chaotic situation, like a mass shooting or terrorist attack. Often times, authors fall into the trap of saying, "if A happens, then do B," without realizing that while attacks may share some similar aspects, each one is unique. This book instructs the reader in ways to look at situations that will increase the odds that you will make the right choices when the bad stuff goes down. You don't have to be a former special forces soldier to make use of this type of training. Before Terror Strikes is an excellent investment in your safety.

Anirudh Parthasarathy

‘Evil prevails when good people sit down and do nothing’ – Edmund Burke, Irish philosopher
We live in an era of terror – the publisher putting it up in an absolutely straighforward fashion but nevertheless, is the reality. The danger with terrorists is that they have no rules and there is no guarantee that you may not be the victim as they strike anywhere – airports, shopping malls, et cetera. Former US Marine, William Michael Seddon Sr. has written a guide on tactical mindsets and skillsets that we all need to learn in order to prevent ourselves from being victims of terrorist attacks, or once you are in it – what to do to protect yourself during one. Author goes over the mindset of a terrorist, of a victim, and extensively covers the antiterrorism preventive measures and countermeasures. The author exhausts nearly all the common possibilities by giving practical ‘what if’ situations which you and I come across everyday. Useful illustrations were also given regarding avoiding shrapnel injuries, gunfire and safety in subways. The book provides the insight on how terrorists think, it teaches not just to avoid terrorist attacks, but to think tactically, which is useful anywhere. Author mentions some very interesting facts about the human mind and some enlightening quotes from famous people across centuries. This book is a must read before any travel, as it provides sufficient details regarding identifying a terrorist and measures to take in order to prevent yourself from getting into a life-threatening situation, and if you are in the middle of it – measures to take to protect yourself from terrorists. It is even more useful for US citizens as the author has given some specific US related tips such as the services provided by the embassy. The best part about the whole book is that it is concise – 165 pages within which most common situations are exhausted. A good reader might need less than an hour to go through the entire book and it would provide her / him a basic idea on how to protect themselves. I think this book could also be a useful guide if someone has some project to do on terror attacks and safety during a terrorist attack.This is one of those books where it doesn’t end with reading it. After reading it, you have to take it into real life situations and act accordingly. Only then you can claim that you have understood the contents of the book.I don’t think it is all that appropriate to rate non-fiction, especially something of this nature, but a goodreads review is incomplete without it and I have this to say – it is an excellent guide and is a must read in the era that we live in because, counterterrorism is a life or death matter.