Synopses & Reviews
The critical struggle between Shia and Sunni for the future of the Middle East.
To most Western eyes, all Islamic movements look alike, and the central conflict in the Middle East is one between religion and secularism. Shockingly little has been written about the bitter divide between Shia and Sunni. Yet without understanding their ancient conflict--and its modern embodiment in the power struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia for political and spiritual leadership of the Muslim world--it is impossible to comprehend events across the so-called Shia Crescent, from East Africa through Iraq and Pakistan to India.
The provocative rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Saudi pressure on the United States not to unseat Saddam Hussein in 1991, the critical role of the Ayatollah Sistani and the religious establishment in Najaf (Iraq), the volatility of Pakistan today, and the consequences of the shift toward Shia power through American intervention--all this and more is explained in the light of the Shia/Sunni divide.
Nasr offers an understanding of the ancient conflict of the Shia and Sunni and their critical struggle for the future of the Middle East, and its modern embodiment in the power struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia for political and spiritual leadership of the Muslim world.
Profiled on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, Iranian-born scholar Vali Nasr has become one of America's leading commentators on current events in the Middle East, admired and welcomed by both media and government for his "concise and coherent" analysis (Wall Street Journal). In this "smart, clear and timely" book (Washington Post), Nasr brilliantly dissects the political and theological antagonisms within Islam. He provides a unique and objective understanding of the 1,400-year bitter struggle between Shias and Sunnis, and sheds crucial light on its modern-day consequences--from the nuclear posturing of Iran's President Ahmadinejad to the recent U.S.-enabled shift toward Shia power in Iraq and Hezbollah's continued dominance in Lebanon. The paperback edition features a new foreword for 2007.
'"Wonderfully written...as in the slave narratives that inspired it, language is power."'"Nancy Kline, New York Times Book Review
'Kidnapped as a child from Africa, Aminata Diallo is enslaved in South Carolina but escapes during the chaos of the Revolutionary War. In Manhattan she becomes a scribe for the British, recording the names of blacks who have served the King and earned freedom in Nova Scotia. But the hardship and prejudice there prompt her to follow her heart back to Africa, then on to London, where she bears witness to the injustices of slavery and its toll on her life and a whole people. It is a story that no listener, and no reader, will ever forget. Reading group guide included.'
"Historically incisive, geographically broad-reaching, and brimming with illuminating anecdotes."--Max Rodenbeck,
The New York Times Bestseller
Iranian-born scholar Vali Nasr has become one of America's leading commentators on current events in the Middle East, admired and welcomed by both media and government for his "concise and coherent" analysis (, front-page profile). In this "remarkable work" (Anderson Cooper), Nasr brilliantly dissects the political and theological antagonisms within Islam, providing a unique and objective understanding of the 1,400-year bitter struggle between Shias and Sunnis and shedding crucial light on its modern-day consequences.
About the Author
' Lawrence Hill is the author of the novels Any Known Blood and Some Great Thing and of the nonfiction work The Deserter's Tale(with Joshua Key). He lives in Ontario, Canada.'