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Publisher's Summary

Profiled on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, Iranian-born scholar Vali Nasr has become one of America's leading commentators on current events in the Middle East, admired and welcomed by both media and government for his "concise and coherent" analysis (Wall Street Journal). In this "smart, clear and timely" book (Washington Post), Nasr brilliantly dissects the political and theological antagonisms within Islam. He provides a unique and objective understanding of the 1,400-year bitter struggle between Shias and Sunnis, and sheds crucial light on its modern-day consequences—from the nuclear posturing of Iran's President Ahmadinejad to the recent U.S.-enabled shift toward Shia power in Iraq and Hezbollah's continued dominance in Lebanon.
©2006 Vali Nasr (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Historically incisive, geographically broad-reaching, and brimming with illuminating anecdotes." (Max Rodenbeck, New York Review of Books)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

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The Narrator Needs Language Lessons

Would you consider the audio edition of The Shia Revival to be better than the print version?

The audio version is poor, because the narrator butchers all the names, places and concepts with his terrible pronunciation. He needs to prepare himself better and learn how to pronounce these words, so he does not at times even alter the meaning of the words.<br/><br/>The content of the book is superb, but this narration is a disaster.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Shia Revival?

The explanation of the differences between the sects.

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator could learn to pronounce what he is reading.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No. I do not find this question relevant. It made me think and it made me interested in finding out more.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Overview of sectarian dynamics in the region

Would you listen to The Shia Revival again? Why?

Most likely not. I thought this book was a great primer on the history of Shia/Sunni relations in the Gulf, but it is does not put forth any truly unique or original way of viewing the region that I feel needs revisiting. This book is a great primer, but not an exhaustive source of information. I haven't decided to purchase a print copy of this book to use as a reference as I have for other audio books I've listened to.

What did you like best about this story?

Nasr's wide regional scope, and relatively narrow focus (Sunni/Shia relations) allows for a better analysis of regional trends than many other works which tend to focus solely on the history of a single nation or a single war/political event.

Have you listened to any of Fleet Cooper’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, N/A.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but I love history in general so that's not much of a surprise!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Thoroughly Enjoyed

I have read many books on Islam, and this is one of the most gripping, captivating works I have experienced! Perhaps it is the writing style, perhaps it is the voice of the narrator, perhaps it is because I have friends who are Shia, perhaps it was the fact that the author himself is Iranian, that made me come back to this book and complete it. I did not expect a scholarly book to be so enriching at the same time. One of the best things which I take away from my reading was a deeper understanding of the severe division between the Sunnis and Shias in light of what is happening in our works today in 2016... and realising that, the Shia world is nearly cutting across the entire Middle East and breaking up the Sunni lands into north (Turkey) and south (Saudi Arabia).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very good, but shows clear Shia bias

This book has some invaluable information and perspectives, but it is hampered by the obviousness of its pro-Shia bias. If you keep that idea in mind, it is a great listen and a fascinating reference for anyone interested in the region, in Islam, and in the future of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. Even the author's pro-Shia bias is valuable, as it illuminates a perspective not often heard in Western books on the region. I will definitely be interested in the author's other works.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great book, awful reader

You'd think a person reading a book about the Middle East would at least attempt to pronounce the names correctly. The reader of this book makes no such attempt. His mis-pronouncements grate on the listener. Better to read this book than listen to it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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VERY Accurate! very complex “dumbs down” details

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

YES, A++ The author Vali Nasr Does EXCELLENT Job of simplifying such a complex issue. Very thoughtful and really unbiased. More of a historical perspective of how we got to where we are today. Makes a very complicated issue easier to understand. He has a very good “deep” understanding of this topic and looks at many angles and issues. Perfect for someone who wants to better understand the geo-religious- politics of the Middle East. <br/>

What did you like best about this story?

its the truth

Which scene was your favorite?

I've read over 100 books and this is the #1

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

the deep details

Any additional comments?

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by this thoughtful book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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extremely disappointed

With such statements as 'Iran represents the modern face of Islam', Vali Nasr concludes a very biased book about a history of Islam and the middle East. fyi I belong to a religious sect that has been, and continues to be persecuted by Sunnis and salafist. Still there is no excuse for such naivety and lack of subjectivity. Even the narrator is so unprofessional, that when quoting a Sunni politician or cleric, he gives him the tone of a villain from a cheap Hollywood production. The only excuse I could give Mr Nasr for such a book, would be that it was written after the refreshing presidency of khatemi and at the beginning of the infamous Ahmadinejad reign , before the crushing of the Iranian Revolution. That makes the book irrelevant now. I won't be surprised to learn that President Obama read this book while planning his catastrophic middle eastern strategy. If you are looking for a book to try to understand the mess in the middle East this book is helpful only as an add on and not intended for people who are trying to learn about Islam and the region.

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Biased and not scientifically objective

I'm an atheist so I really favor no party over the other but this book is belligerently biased towards the Shia's perspective and historical point of view with complete dismissal of the Sunni's. By purchasing this book and spending so many hours listening too it , I was hoping for a more accurate and scientific analysis of this issue.

IT LEFT ME DISAPPOINTED

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Informative but with blind spots

An excellent analysis of the Shia/Sunni conflict throughout history, but one that is glaringly blind to the role the United States and its allies have played in heightening and shaping the conflict since the Iranian Revolution, and particularly since 9/11!

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Insightful and sympathetic

Nasr outlines the contours of the sectarian divisions in the Middle East without any of the self serving biases and ideological distortions I have found so frustrating in 90% of the discussions about the Middle East we hear in the West.

I am definitely moving on to Nasr's more recent book, 'The Dispensable Nation' next.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Ben C. Andersen
  • 04-12-15

Very interesting

I really liked this as it was clear and accessible. The pronunciation of the reader was terrible but my knowledge is not sufficient to make it really annoying. The emphasis on US interests in the book was a reflection of the writers role in the US. That part is not to my taste but still it was a good book.