It was such a fascinating listen, I listened to parts of it twice. The author seems to walk us through Islam objectively. He draws on a large variety of resources. He does am amazing job of weaving them altogether. He does have an unmistakable pro-Christian bias (though he always acknowledges Christain wrong-doing). I came away concluding that Spencer likely gives a fair account of Islam. I certainly don't see any conflict between his account and what I read in the popular press, quite the contrary. What he does not go into in much depth or detail (though he covers it some) is how citizens of Islamic countries have suffered at western hands in the 20th century. If I was a Palestinian, I doubt I would be a big fan of the west. To the extent Spencer's book fairly represents Islam, there are important issues the west needs to address.
This book does an excellent job of giving the reader the perspective of the average Iranian. Where it falls short is coming to grips with the downside of Iran's theocracy. It does not address Iran's support of terrorists at all, an astonishing omission. While it does discuss other negatives, it tends to downplay them. It discusses the fact that Iran closes opposition newspapers, but notes they often quickly reopen under other names. It makes it sound like it is no big deal. The author does not discuss the burden this obviously puts on a free press or that Iran jails journalists it does not like. The book is worth a read, it definitely humanizes Iran, an important contribution, but a more objective author would have taken Iran more to task for its suppression of human rights and support of terroism.
I mostly agree with Al Gore's criticism of the Bush administration (and I am not a registered Democrat). That said, the book is distinctly partisan. Never do the Democrats come in for any meaningful criticism in the book, notwithstanding that there is much to critisize. They were not the innocent, uninformed bystanders they claimed to be on the Iraq war. The voted for the war because they thought it was politically expedient to do so. At one point Gore criticizes a Republican Congress for holding up Clinton's judicial nominees, but neglected to mention that the Democrats did the same thing to Bush. So, if neutral analysis is what you want, this may not be your book. But if you want to read (or listen to) a book that raises a number of fair concerns about the Bush administration, then I think you will find it worthwhile.
I definitely recommend this book on tape. A few of the scenes are a little too drawn out and a crucial part of the ending is not very credible, but in the main it is a "page turner." The reader was terrific.
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