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Publisher's Summary

For many centuries, the world of Islam was at the forefront of human achievement: the foremost military and economic power in the world, the leader in the arts and sciences of civilization. Christian Europe, a remote land beyond its northwestern frontier, was seen as an outer darkness of barbarism and unbelief from which there was nothing to learn or to fear. And then everything changed, as the previously despised West won victory after victory, first on the battlefield and in the marketplace, then in almost every aspect of public and even private life. In this intriguing volume, Bernard Lewis examines the anguished reaction of the Islamic world as it tried to understand why things had changed, how they had been overtaken, overshadowed, and to an increasing extent dominated by the West.
©2001 Bernard Lewis; (P)2002 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Arguably the West's most distinguished scholar on the Middle East." (Newsweek)
"Lewis has done us all, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, a remarkable service." (The New York Times Book Review)
"An excitingly knowledgeable antidote to today's natural sense of befuddlement." (The Baltimore Sun)
"Replete with the exceptional historical insight that one has come to expect from the world's foremost Islamic scholar." (The Wall Street Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Jason
  • Sherwood, OR, United States
  • 03-22-06

Great place to start

Both Bernard Lewis and Albert Hourani were recommended by my Arabic instructor as being reputable in both the Arab and Western Worlds. This book is brief in comparison to the works of Hourani. I would listen to this first. The narrator does a good job and the material is both interesting and relevant. This is good for both the casual and serious student of history. I’ve listened to all of the works available on Audible by this author and I would recommend them all.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lewis
  • redding, CA, USA
  • 09-27-04

Scattered Treasures

The book starts and ends well, but looses its potency in between. I bought the book after seeing Mr. Lewis on CSPAN book review. Let's just say that his CSPAN interview provided more information in a lot less time. I do recognize Mr. Lewis as a western expert on Islam and I will continue to buy his books. I would recommend Karen Armstrong, however, to those who want more substance and a broader understanding.

29 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • norton
  • charlotte, NC, United States
  • 08-31-10

Illuminating

The narrative was lush and the anecdotes enthralling. The information dense style requires multiple listening for full absorption. I had trouble with the time lines as the narrative whipsawed across centuries, leaving me with no full understanding of what happened when. The author switches between saying for example "in the sixteen hundreds" to saying " in the seventeenth century" which is saying the same thing but requires a mental switch on my part in order to follow. The mongol conquest of the fourteenth century was not covered at all. This is more than a minor omission. I now feel the need to go get another book that covers this topic. This book in totality is very informative if a little clumsy. It has the feel of an exceedingly smart author, unaccustomed to dealing with lay people. The treatment of the topic was very well balanced and has no hint of partisanship, nationalism or religious bent. The author is blunt without bludgeoning.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Extremely insightful and exceptionally detailed.

If you could sum up What Went Wrong in three words, what would they be?

Thought provoking, Insightful and historically impartial

Who was your favorite character and why?

No characters.

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

No

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

Its a work of non-fiction

Any additional comments?

Beautifully read and extremely thought provoking for western reader seeking to understand the historical implications and geo-political history and underpinnings between Christendom and Islam and Western Civilization and Islamic macro views.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

poor flow of content

the flow of content of this book started by following a linear timeline then switched to go by topic and frequently bounced between the two making the portion of time you are currently reading in difficult to comprehend

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • nancy
  • boynton beach, FL, United States
  • 10-06-14

genuine help

I got to this book through an essay by Martin Amis. I learned a great deal from it and begin to understand the dilemmas and obstacles from the history and structure of Islam. I would recommend this book easily and frequently. John Lee is often too heavy and distinctive for me as narrator. In this book he was perfect.

  • Overall

Long book. Short message.

If you are looking for sociocultural information to help make some sense of what is going on over there today, just listen to the last chapter.

0 of 4 people found this review helpful