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.
"Fast-moving, engaging and ultimately unnerving...The Shia Revival is at its most provocative when exposing how the Sunni-Shiite power imbalance seeps out of classrooms and infects Muslim life on the ground." New York Times
"[As] an historical and cultural narrative of Shia experience, Nasr's book offers a crucial overview of the sectarian forces dividing the Muslim world." Miami Herald
"The entrenched historical, theological, and political disputes within Islam are analyzed here in an eminently readable and informative book that should be read by both policymakers and informed Western readers." Library Journal
"Much blood has been spilled over the doctrinal dispute between the two factions, a gap thatcontinues to widen. Nasr's book is a helpful footnote to the headlines, now that 'war on America is war on Shi'ism, and war on Shi'ism is war on America.'" Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Vali Nasr is professor of Middle East and South Asia politics and associate chair of research at the Department of National Security at the Naval Postgraduate School. He lives in La Jolla, California.