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The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terrorby Bernard Lewis
Synopses & Reviews
In his first book since What Went Wrong? Bernard Lewis examines the historical roots of the resentments that dominate the Islamic world today and that are increasingly being expressed in acts of terrorism. He looks at the theological origins of political Islam and takes us through the rise of militant Islam in Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, examining the impact of radical Wahhabi proselytizing, and Saudi oil money, on the rest of the Islamic world.
The Crisis of Islam ranges widely through thirteen centuries of history, but in particular it charts the key events of the twentieth century leading up to the violent confrontations of today: the creation of the state of Israel, the Cold War, the Iranian Revolution, the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, the Gulf War, and the September 11th attacks on the United States.
While hostility toward the West has a long and varied history in the lands of Islam, its current concentration on America is new. So too is the cult of the suicide bomber. Brilliantly disentangling the crosscurrents of Middle Eastern history from the rhetoric of its manipulators, Bernard Lewis helps us understand the reasons for the increasingly dogmatic rejection of modernity by many in the Muslim world in favor of a return to a sacred past. Based on his George Polk Award-winning article for The New Yorker, The Crisis of Islam is essential reading for anyone who wants to know what Usama bin Ladin represents and why his murderous message resonates so widely in the Islamic world.
"This lean, muscular volume...sheds much-needed light on the complicated and volatile Middle East....
"[R]ich with the eloquence and erudition for which Lewis has become known and admired....Where this book is at its best is in showcasing his knowledge of the history, historiography, jurisprudence and customs of Islamic society in the Middle East." Kenneth M. Pollack, The New York Times Book Review
"Written in an easily accessible style, this analysis provides a digestible overview for Westerners still asking why." Margaret Flanagan, Booklist
"A timely and provocative contribution to the current raging debate about the tensions between the West and the Islamic world." BusinessWeek
"No scholar of Islam in the Western world has more thoroughly earned the respect of generalists and academics alike than Bernard Lewis....An excitingly knowledgeable antidote to today's natural sense of befuddlement....History with electric immediacy." Baltimore Sun
"[A] clear, evenhanded overview....The issues are complex, but the writing is accessible to older high school students." School Library Journal
In his first book since What Went Wrong? Bernard Lewis examines the historical roots of the resentments that dominate the Islamic world today and that are increasingly being expressed in acts of terrorism.
About the Author
Bernard Lewis is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus at Princeton University and the author of The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; The Emergence of Modern Turkey; The Arabs in History; and What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response, among other books. Lewis is internationally recognized as one of our era's greatest historians of the Middle East. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages, including Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Indonesian. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
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History and Social Science » Middle East » General History