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The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror | [Bernard Lewis]

The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror

Bernard Lewis examines the historical roots of the frustrations and resentments that dominate the Islamic world today and that are increasingly being expressed in acts of terrorism. He looks at the theological origins of political Islam and tells us what the Islamic doctrine of jihad has meant at different times in history.
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Publisher's Summary

Bernard Lewis examines the historical roots of the frustrations and resentments that dominate the Islamic world today and that are increasingly being expressed in acts of terrorism. He looks at the theological origins of political Islam and tells us what the Islamic doctrine of jihad has meant at different times in history. And he takes us, as only he can, through the rise of militant Islam in Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, examining the impact of radical Wahabi proselytizing and Saudi oil money on the rest of the Islamic world.

Crisis of Islam ranges widely through 13 centuries of history, but in particular it charts the key events of the 20th century leading up to the bitter and violent confrontations of today. The Second World War, the creation of the state of Israel, the Cold War, the Iranian Revolution, the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, the Gulf War, and the September 11th attacks on the United States have all shaped Muslim perceptions in important ways.

While hostility toward the West has a long and varied history in the lands of Islam, its current concentration on America is new. So too is the cult of the suicide bomber. Bernard Lewis helps us understand the reasons for the increasingly dogmatic rejection of modernity by many in the Muslim world in favor of a return to a sacred past. Based on his George Polk Award-winning article for The New Yorker, The Crisis of Islam is essential reading for anyone who wants to know what Osama bin Ladin represents and why his murderous message resonates so widely in the Islamic world.

©2003 Bernard Lewis; (P)2003 Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Remarkably succinct...offers a long view in the midst of so much short-termism and confusing punditry. Lewis has done us all - Muslim and non-Muslim alike - a remarkable service." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A timely and provocative contribution to the current raging debate about the tensions between the West and the Islamic world." (Business Week)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (528 )
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  •  
    Jerry Austin, TX, USA 10-26-05
    Jerry Austin, TX, USA 10-26-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book but why read by the author?"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark D. Jones Huntsville, AL United States 06-28-05
    Mark D. Jones Huntsville, AL United States 06-28-05 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing Book"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leon whitefish bay, WI, USA 09-25-04
    Leon whitefish bay, WI, USA 09-25-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "A most read."

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel 09-20-04
    Rachel 09-20-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Crisis of Islam"

    A great historical perspective. I listended to it twice and really learned from it.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Franklin Poland, OH, USA 01-18-04
    Franklin Poland, OH, USA 01-18-04
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    "Excellent Mid-East Primer"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    09-11-03
    09-11-03 Member Since 2010
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    "Best on the subject"

    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!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry Beaumont, Alberta, Canada 08-24-03
    Jerry Beaumont, Alberta, Canada 08-24-03
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    "Understanding the History of Islam"

    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!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aurelio Orlando, FL, USA 06-28-03
    Aurelio Orlando, FL, USA 06-28-03
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    "Learned a lot"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marc Santa Fe, TX, USA 06-12-03
    Marc Santa Fe, TX, USA 06-12-03 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An enlightening book"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tennis Oakland, CA, USA 05-13-03
    Tennis Oakland, CA, USA 05-13-03 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Book!"

    This is the best treatment of the issues around Islam that I've ever read.

    14 of 21 people found this review helpful
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