I am a Bernard Lewis fan. I think he is worth reading to compare how the media handles issues with Lewis' treatment. Other writers are more cautious when dealing with issues (for whatever reason). Lewis is tough when he criticizes Arabs and equally tough on Westerners who try to deal with Islamic peoples and their govrnments without bothering to understand them and and their governmental system. His spoken prose is also entertaining.
This book does a great job in explaining the diferences between the West and Islam. It makes the diferences between the two side clear and also shows the chalenges that have to be overcomed in order to solve a conflict of more than a thousand years. In todays world this is a very relevant book which will help to understand the issues in the Middle East and Europe
Bernard Lewis' premise is that the best example of Islam is the state of Turkey or, more precisely, a state modeled on the 'reforms' of Kemal Ataturk.
Ataturk the 'hero' of modern Turkey murdered and imprisoned thousands of Imams, sufis and religious people who did not conform to his vision of Islam. Among the 'blessings' of his reformist vision were to forbid the call to prayer in Arabic, mandating the pre-islamic name of the pagan turkic tribes for their god rather than that in the Quran, the wearing of brimmed hats by men (hats which made it impossible to pray in the prescribed muslim way) and many other 'reforms'which, in essence, made it impossible to follow the prescriptions of Islamic practice (note: I am referring to personal religious duties which have no impact on state affairs). Ataturk died of liver disease from his alchoholism - a truly great example of his 'reformed way of life'.
Since Bernard Lewis admires his vison of Islam, one can only assume that Mr lewis would like an Islam where no one actually practises; where they carry the name 'muslim' with none of the 'baggage' of adhering to the teachings (and I am not talking about radical fundamentalism here).
I chose this book because I wanted to know more about the Mideast, and particularly, about the roots of terrorism. I listened to the book over the past week and finished it a couple of days ago.
Tonite I watched the news playing the translation of another tape released by bin Laden. Having read Crisis of Islam, for the first time, I felt like I understood the history and allusions referred to in bin Laden's message.
I am going to listen to Crisis of Islam a second time to try to absorb more (and have also purchased his other book "History of the Mideast and am reading this detailed and interesting history as well).
In sum, an informative, interesting and relevant book - would highly recommend to anyone wanting to learn about the world post 9/11. By the way, I found the author's reading to be excellent, conveying the inflection and tone to match his words.
This book confirms the use of religion to cover some of the darker aspecrts of basic human nature. Like Fundamentalist Christianity, Fundamentalist Islam is used to promote and support self interests and biases of one group over another. Islam was used to justify invasion and domination just like the medieval Crusades and later invasions. This work addresses this without burying us completely in Western bias on the topic. Very edifying.
I tried. I mean, I REALLY tried to listen to this one. But man this guy nearly put me into a coma! It isn't the length, it is just out of this world mind numbing. This was the first audio book (out of 7) that really put me to sleep.
It is like listening to a monotone history lecture. If you are a history buff that enjoyed the "talking to the blackboard" lectures is college, then this is right up your alley. I just couldn't connect though, although I really wanted to. I heard the author on NPR and was really interested in the topic. I just couldnt handle the guys boring voice.
In a time when we need to understand more about others in the world, I found that this book did not help ... not because of the content but because of the reader. I think I'd rather read the print version because the audio version was boring, boring, boring. I made it only 1/5 of the way through.
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Lewis admits he is an orientalist, viewing the world from that particular angle. The information is not balance but bias.
Non Fiction Reader
Concise, insightful, informational. It's obvious this man has studied Islam, its people and most importantly its politics. He can explain muslim thinking and how it impacts current events. One of the best books on Islam. The others were also written by Lewis.
As a die hard supporter of secular governments I find myself alarmed at the current interpretations of the Islamic faith based states. It may not matter if the motivation is true faith, greed, anger,jealous, ignorance or a combination - the results will be the same - generations of hate, violence and death. I wonder, would a shift in world fuel from Oil to something else not found in the Holy Lands and Middle East be enough of a catalyst to change the dynamics??? I'd like to read more about the economics involved ... follow the money so to speak.
And I will proudly set aside my religious beliefs in honor of your secular rights and expect the same in return.
I did not rate this book higher because the book/author/narrator were hard to follow sometimes and the book would have benefited from better organization and editing.