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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

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  •  
    Wayne Rancho Cordova, CA, USA 05-14-03
    Wayne Rancho Cordova, CA, USA 05-14-03
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    "A confirmation of the danger of fundamentalism."

    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.

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert irvine, CA, USA 12-15-04
    Robert irvine, CA, USA 12-15-04
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    "borring!"

    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.

    4 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Raleigh, NC, USA 01-20-04
    Janet Raleigh, NC, USA 01-20-04
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    "Good info, boring reader"

    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.

    4 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Max Hollmann Florida 06-30-10
    W. Max Hollmann Florida 06-30-10 Member Since 2008

    Non Fiction Reader

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    "A Must Read!"

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Pleasant Hill, CA, USA 01-28-06
    Cheryl Pleasant Hill, CA, USA 01-28-06 Member Since 2005
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    "Good primer for understanding anti-west sentiments"

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Marenisco, MI, USA 01-04-06
    James Marenisco, MI, USA 01-04-06
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    "Very informative"

    Great book and a good reading. The historical data is very valuable in understanding the current crisis in the middle east.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liz Arroyo Grande, CA, USA 10-21-05
    Liz Arroyo Grande, CA, USA 10-21-05
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    "Foreign Policy Makers Must Listen to This Book"

    This book is amazing, insightful and very, very scary. I sure hope the foreign policy makers in this country have read or listened to this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamison Day Bloomington, IN United States 12-29-03
    Jamison Day Bloomington, IN United States 12-29-03
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    "Informative but Lacking"

    I am not a Muslim, nor do I have a good understanding of Islam. Alas, I feel like I am in roughly the same position even after reading this book.

    Yes, the author does identify some striking contrasts between religions in identification of schisms both within the Islamic faith and between Islam and other parts of the world (primarily Western). However, I believe that those who understand the Muslim mind most likely already have a good notion of their struggles, and therefore this book would have done well to foster a greater understanding of the Muslim faith in general before identifying their Crises.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Freeport, ME, USA 10-14-03
    David Freeport, ME, USA 10-14-03 Member Since 2002
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    "An interesting perspective"

    Nicely written and thoughtfully examined.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kal Bayside, NY, USA 06-26-03
    Kal Bayside, NY, USA 06-26-03 Member Since 2001

    Entrepreneur with a successful background orchestrating start-ups as well as elevating organizational performance through skillful restructuring. Successful background building and leading top performing teams focused on collaboration and exceeding goals in the areas of operations, marketing, and comprehensive development.

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    "An orientalist View"

    Lewis admits he is an orientalist, viewing the world from that particular angle. The information is not balance but bias.

    5 of 17 people found this review helpful
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