Sword of Islam / Edition 1

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Undoubtedly timely and full of fascinating detail, Sword of Islam is a thorough, well-researched, and revealing account of global Islamic terrorism. A military historian, John F. Murphy Jr. traces the intricate interconnections among various terrorist cells, including Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda and its relationship with the Taliban of Afghanistan, the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, Islamic Moro extremists in the Philippines, obscure Algerian terrorist groups, and other sympathetic underworld organizations in Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and even South America. He also puts recent terrorist attacks in historical context by discussing such key events as the rise of Arab nationalism following Israel's victory in the 1948 war, the Black September killings of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, the 1976 rescue at Entebbe by Israeli commandos of hostages abducted by German terrorists, the terrorist plots of the infamous "Carlos the Jackal," the bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, and the impact of the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the Mujahideen resistance of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the same year.
This book supplies the answer to the question that has been on the minds of all Americans since September 11: Why do they hate us? Murphy makes it clear that as the chief backer of Israel the United States is seen by extremists as the evil power behind the hated "Zionist enemy." But he also emphasizes that in the final analysis we are the only country with the power to bring these attacks to a halt.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This sweep of the history of Islamic extremism suffers from a lack of focus and a failure to confront complex questions. Murphy, a military historian, covers a lot of ground, beginning his story with the birth of the prophet Muhammad in A.D. 571 and ending with the Sept. 11 attacks and the U.S.-led war on terrorism in Afghanistan. But most of the book looks at the 20th century's sporadic outbreaks of anti-West violence. All too often this account feels like a list of atrocities, without interpretation and context. In just a few pages, for example, Murphy jumps from the rise of Nasser in Egypt to the creation of the Turkish state to the rule of the Shah in Iran. He doesn't delve in any depth into the conditions, whether internal or external, that led to today's Islamic militancy. In his epilogue, Murphy further fails to explore the quandary of where the U.S. campaign should go next, yet repeatedly cheers it on making his book feel like a patriotic high school history textbook. (Mar. 30) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
A military historian who has written reports for the US Central Intelligence Agency, Murphy inaugurates a multi-volume history of terrorism, of which this is the first to appear. He began in 1998, and has been revising furiously to keep up with events. Among his views is that extremist outsiders soured the good relations between the Crusaders and the Arabs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591020103
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Meet the Author

John F. Murphy Jr. is a military historian and the founder and President of The Grenadier Company, a private research firm specializing in military history, international relations, guerilla warfare, and terrorism. He has authored two confidential reports for the CIA, has been a lecturer in European and American History at St. Joseph University and Drexel University in Philadelphia, and is a guest columnist and reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News. He is currently writing a two-volume history of the early American frontier for the University of Missouri Press.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9
A Note on Arabic Spelling 13
Introduction 15
Ch. 1 A Bloody Day on the Barren Rocks of Aden 19
Ch. 2 The 100th Birthday of the Modern Jihad 32
Ch. 3 The Rise of Militant Islam 63
Ch. 4 Islam and Arab Nationalism 82
Ch. 5 The Zenith of Arab Nationalism 96
Ch. 6 The Rebirth of Militant Islam 111
Ch. 7 The United States and Jihad 159
Ch. 8 On the Road to the Apocalypse? 219
Ch. 9 September 11, 2001 235
Ch. 10 "Payback Is a Bitch" 293
Ch. 11 On to Kabul! 326
Ch. 12 Beyond the Fighting 342
App. I Pitfalls on the Hunt for Bin Laden 349
App. II Terrorism: Time for a Change 355
App. III Osama and the Jihad 365
Glossary 369
Notes 381
Selected Bibliography 395
Index 407
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2006

    This Sword is a Bit Dull

    Sword of Islam is not as sharp as it should be. As the publisher remarks suggest, this book is overly ambitious, overly broad and suffers from a number of factual errors and proofreading mistakes, along with numerous transliteration errors (arabic, farsi and turkish names are not properly translated) the distinctions between the Shi'ite and Sunni factions are not properly placed in their historical context the millenarian aspirations of the Shi'ites and their historical connections to the Persians are not properly explained the occultation of the 13th imam and his eventual resurrection is not elaborated upon as a millenarian construct which was seized upon by the Ayatollah Khomeini to create a revolutionary form of shi'a islam in the late 1970s which has not stopped gaining force and momentum. These developments have nothing to do with the crusades or even with events as recent as the 19th century, contrary to the central thesis of this book. Until the 20th century, Islam was a very tolerant relgion. Under the Ottoman Empire, homosexuality, potsmoking, prostitution, hashish (the root of 'hasshin' or 'assassin', opium, heroin, christianity, judaism, armenians, copts, bahais and many other forms of diseent and free thought and free action were widely tolerated, so long as the local pasha was paid his 'bakshish' or bribe. The sultan of turkey had as many boys in his harem as girls. Most arabs and turks were openly bisexual. Christians, including Armenians, French and English missionaries, ran all of the trade. Smyrna was the largest city in the mediterranean, and was home to the world's largest tobacco trade. Egyptology and digs for ancient finds in Iraq and Iran flourished until after WWII. The Nationalist impulse to unite religion, Islam, with a purification of non-Islamist elements and to attack the west, really does not find any support until after the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948 after this, Abdul Nasser takes power in Egypt, in 1951 and Mossadeq in Iran in 1953, only to be toppled by the CIA and thereafter praetorian regimes are emplaced by the CIA everywhere in the Middle East to hold the fort and prevent problems. Once those regimes were overthrown, starting with Iran in the late 70s, the result was islamic fundamentalism and chaos, focused intently on the destruction of of the Israeli State and anti-Americanism for its support of Israel. It can well be argued, as it has by many liberal critics of American Mideast policy, that the CIA and American post-WWII cold war policy has been the major culprit in antagonizing the arab peoples in the Middle East region. The Arabists of the State Department were almost unanimously opposed to Truman's recognition of the Israeli State in 1948 and all of them wrote memoranda forecasting pretty much what has occurred over the past fifty years--several arab-israeli wars, a radicalization of islam, and the development of anti-american feelings in the middle east in areas where we have critical resource ties through our global oil multinationals. To link these developments to the Crusades of the 10th & 11th centuries is ridiculous. The modern state of Turkey repudiates the Ottoman Empire in nearly every respect, and no other Arab or Persian State is subject to Ottoman or Turkish rule. The liberator of Jerusalem himself, Saladin, was of Kurdish descent, and the Kurds today are an oppressed & somewhat backwards minority in both turkey and iraq. In the 11th century the Kurds ruled the middle east with an iron grip and were the most advanced faction. Errors like this plague this book, and you should direct yourself to volumes like Hourani, a History of the Arab Peoples, for a better survey of the region.

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