The author comes off as incredibly knowledgeable. That being said, even to someone like me who knows little about the subject, he's clearly cherry picking to make a political point. I think the idea is basically that he can locate various historical strands to assemble into an ideology, which he ascribes to Islam generally. But the threads are all over the place, and he noticeably flattens the culture - treating a bunch of different people spread over hundreds of years as a single actor with a single set of thoughts and motivations. That's just my sense. It's still an interesting view, but I can't recommend it as a comprehensive primer, which is what I was looking for.
The author reading lends a certain earnestness to the book, but at times he swallows words or is otherwise hard to hear. It was a bit distracting.
This was a very good introductory, yet detailed book regarding Islam. However, why did Bernard Lewis read? His voice crackles and several times it I could not decipher what he was saying. This book should be re-read by someone with a better voice.
Once you listen to this, you will have some understanding of why it is easy to drum up hate for westerners and to some degree America. I found this book very enlightening even though parts of it shine light on some great national shame.
It is easy to follow, well thought out, and has enough date information to keep the timeline together without putting you to sleep.
The story of Islam through the centuries and how it relates to present day religious fanatism. Impartial view by a scholar leads to understanding of present day terror.
While I have the desire to know more about the how and why of radical Islam, I cannot devote the time that real study would require. This book provides an excellent overview. The listener won't be an expert on the subject after hearing this book, but will be much more enlightened for the experience. While I agree that the author is not always the best person to read his or her work (e.g., Bill Bryson) I found Lewis's reading of his book to be genuine and enjoyable (despite a case of laryngitis early on). A must read.
Best book on the subject I have read so far. Narration by the author a real plus. Certain people in high places should read this book!
Though by necessity the author jumps around a bit, the book provides great insight into what is the history of Islam and what is currently driving the terroists. An excellent history lesson plus many insightfull observations!
Facsinating book. The author gives insight into Islam past and present, offers insight into what could become of present day events. His historical presentation of Muslim history explains a great deal of current day events.
Well narrated, well researched and very informative. I listened to it twice and learned much from it. This book helped me see the world and current events from a different point of view and significantly improved my ability to interpret and understand the political and diplomatic forces at play in the Arab and Muslim worlds.