School Library JournalGr 6 Up-An informative, up-to-date overview of the influence of militant Islam on our global society. An introductory chapter defining the religion and its beliefs is followed by a history of Muslims and how they have interacted with the West. Spencer then provides a detailed description of this religion in Egypt, Iran, Algeria, and Sudan. A final chapter discusses the future of fundamentalism. This basic introduction presents issues in a clear, well-balanced, nonjudgmental manner. It has an easier reading level and provides less depth of information than Jacques Jomier's How to Understand Islam (Crossroad, 1990). Most books on the subject for this age level describe the tenants and customs of the faith, while Spencer emphasizes its impact on the political climate of the world today and throughout history. He tries to show that Western fears of the possibilty of Islamic takeover are grossly exaggerated. Average-quality, black-and-white photographs and reproductions complement the text. The format is appealing to those who might be overwhelmed by more comprehensive treatments. Skillful, well-researched coverage of a complicated, diverse movement.-Sandra L. Doggett, Linganore High School, Frederick, MD
Merri MonksThis clear, basic work explains the tenets of Islam and the general nature of religious fundamentalism. Additional topics include the relationship of Islam with the West; Islamic influences in the societies and governments of Egypt and Iran; Islamic fundamentalism in other countries, including Algeria and the Sudan; and speculations on the role of Islamic fundamentalism in the future of these nations and the world at large. Spencer, a professor emeritus of Middle East history, presents the stories behind events such as the World Trade Center bombing. He also gives a brief, unbiased historic overview of the conflicts that began between Christians and Muslims nearly 1,000 years ago. Illustrated with black-and-white photos, this is a good beginning point for student projects in history, geography, and religion. Glossary; endnotes; list of books for further reading.
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