Gold does a great job of detailing all of the pernicious activities of the Wahhabi movement, especially regarding how the education system with the Kingdom has been hijacked and the Saudis have built up support for their movement by building mosques and schools around the world. Gold also does a great job of bringing out the true message of the Wahhabis which is one of extreme intolerance towards those who disagree with them. However, Gold continues the PC line that Islam is not the problem and it is just a small group of extremists. In fact, the most powerful factor in the Wahhabi cause is its total adherence to the Quran and Islamic juridsprudence. Granted, it is just one interpretation of the Muslim holy book but it remains a fundamentally sound interpretation and appears to be that most in accord with Islam throughout its history, particularly in its first few centuries. But, all in all an eye-opener we should all read to be aware of the Saudi threat.
Didn't get any information about the region. All they provided was snippets of interviews with terrorists and their sympathizers where they allowed them to say whatever they wanted and portray themselves as hunky dory regular folks without any analysis to see if they were just saying what they thought people in the West would want to hear. Wish I could get the time I spent listening to this book back.
This book is one of the least informative texts I have ever read on Middle East history. It is full of unsupported (and unsupportable) opinions/assertions instead of stating the facts. It ignores so many events in Islamic history that would inevitably reveal Islam and its rulers in a negative way that it must certainly be intentional. The authors fail to mention many of the troubling actions of Muhammed (assassinations, political intolerance, banditry, etc), avoids discussing the intolerance of Muslim rulers such as Hakim who destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, avoids discussing the mass slaughter of Hindus in India, and the list goes on. It also provides an unnecessarily biased account of European imperialism which blames Europe for everything yet portrays Arabic and Turkish imperialism, which was arguably far more intolerant and harmful to the occupied lands than Arabs and others under Europeans, as something wonderful. This is a totally biased whitewash of Middle East history and was worse than a waste of time as it is actually counterproductive to any effort at understanding the history of the region. If my children brought this book home from school as a textbook, I would have to speak to the school to have the text changed or remove my child from the class. If you want a book about the Middle East that, although biased in favor of Islam and the Arabs, actually provides sufficient information about the region that you can glean some understanding, get History of the Arab Peoples by Hourani or any of the books by Bernard Lewis who is far more objective and honest both about the history of Islam, Arabs and especially the Turks.
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