This book offers a comprehensive and probably accurate analysis of the reasons for jihad terrorism. Bravo for his comments on the history of messy American foreign policy in the Middle-East (not to mention the rest of the world). And bravo for his revelations about the inter-sect conflicts rampant in the Muslim world (is the Christian world in much better shape?). The author, however, is quite naive about what might be the answer to overcoming the jihad problem. I certainly don't have the answer, but neither does he.
With good cause, he sings the brown-man-blues about his encounters with American "crusaders" in Cairo and whines about being equally put upon by common Arabs there who spot him (an Iranian raised in the US) as an "other". He further blames violent jihadism on the thought that a second-generation, immigrant, German citizen will never be ethnically "German". Until, many generations hence, when the world's population is boringly homogeneous we might as well accept our built-in distrust of "others". That characteristic evolved in humans too many years ago to expect it to be overcome by a few conversations over tea and a few choruses of "Kumbaya". "Can't we all just get along?"
While not even recognizing how foul his American countrymen see it, Aslan mentions that he knows Iranians in Tehran who will chant "Death to America" in the public square and then secretively beg him for help in getting a US visa. Is it any wonder a lot of Americans perceive the Muslim mind as having a completely different idea of what is factual and what isn't? If "words matter" for Aslan's vacillating hero, President Obama, they also matter for the Muslims of the world.
There is a lot to be learned from this book, but it misses the mark on what a reader could realistically do about settling the world's major dilemma.
I became interested in the life and times of Elizabeth I as a result of interest in the 1588 English defeat of the Spanish Armada and watching the two recent, excellent movies on the life of this amazing queen. This audio book on the lives of the rival cousins, Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, was truly an outstanding listen. I feel that I came to know these two women well. My appetite to know more about their story, especially Elizabeth's later years, is doubled. One can only conclude that Elizabeth I was an amazing woman, in spite of her superstitions and belief in supernatural foolishness.
As an atheist, I found it especially remarkable to note how much adversity and disaster, personal and societal, was generated over religion during Elizabeth's reign. It seems humanity hasn't learned much since the 16th Century.
Although I have not read the text version, I imagine that listening to the author narrate this book adds to the flavor and beauty of this description of the lives of African Kalahari people in their indigenous state and their 21st Century status. The author/narrator is able to give authenticity to her prose by adding the click sounds to the words and names from her subjects' language that she includes in the narration. I simply enjoyed and learned from every sentence Ms. Marshall-Thomas generated, especially her description of her day spent foraging for food with the women of the group she studied.
At all levels this book is excellent.
I've only listened to the first unit of this book, but have already some as close to understandng what Einstein and his comtemporary scientists accomplished as I ever have in spite of years of reading and pondering. An excellent book!
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