The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror

The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror

by Bernard Lewis
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Overview

The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror by Bernard Lewis

In his first book since What Went Wrong? Bernard Lewis examines the historical roots of the 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 takes us through the rise of militant Islam in Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, examining the impact of radical Wahhabi proselytizing, and Saudi oil money, on the rest of the Islamic world.

The Crisis of Islam ranges widely through thirteen centuries of history, but in particular it charts the key events of the twentieth century leading up to the violent confrontations of today: 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.

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. Brilliantly disentangling the crosscurrents of Middle Eastern history from the rhetoric of its manipulators, 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 Usama bin Ladin represents and why his murderous message resonates so widely in the Islamic world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812967852
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/02/2004
Edition description: New Afterward
Pages: 190
Sales rank: 153,733
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Bernard Lewis is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus at Princeton University and the author of The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; The Emergence of Modern Turkey; The Arabs in History; and What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response, among other books. Lewis is internationally recognized as one of our era’s greatest historians of the Middle East. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages, including Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Indonesian. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Hometown:

Princeton, New Jersey

Date of Birth:

May 31, 1916

Place of Birth:

London, England

Education:

B.A., University of London, 1936; Diplome des Etudes Semitiques, University of Paris, 1937; Ph.D., University of London,

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Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a retired Army officer and student of political philosophy I find that professor Lewis has a keen insight into Islam and the problem the West faces in dealing with Islamic terrorists. In this book professor Lewis goes on a short historical journey of Islam. Islam's predominance starts to decline in 1683 with the Ottoman Empires loss in its battle for Vienna. Modern Middle Eastern history starts with Napoleon's conquest of Egypt in 1798. This conquest dealt a bitter blow to the prestige of Islam. Islam ceases to grow at the same pace as the west militarily, politically or economically. Professor Lewis points out that Islam suffers a debilitating decline that continues to the present. Professor Lewis throughout the book explains that Islamic fundamentalists see the U.S. as the 'great Satan' for several reasons such as; its support of corrupt regimes in the Middle East, economic exploitation because of its thirst for oil, support for the State of Israel's existence. Hatred of the U.S. by Islamic fundamentalists was enabled by the Nazi support given to Arab leaders during WWII and then the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In 1948 one of these fundamentalists Sayyid Qutb, from Egypt was sent to the U.S. to study for two years. His view of the country and its people was of moral bankruptcy and weakness. Qutb wrote a book about his perceptions that became the definitive view of the U.S. among Islamic fundamentalists. It is this view why terrorists like Osama Bin Laden have declared war on the United States. He sees himself as the man who brought down the mighty Soviet superpower in Afghanistan and can with more ease bring the weak and morally repugnant United States to its knees. I think this book will give the general reader a greater appreciation for the long war ahead we face. 'What Went Wrong?'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so racist
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
concise and accurate
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A horrible misleading read...Lewis takes Islamaphobia, and attempts to put an intelligent rational behind it....The truth is, his theories are this absolutely NOT "widely adopted" by Muslims on a global scale...Not even close to 1%. He uses Iran in most of his examples, and does not disclose that Iran is 95% "Shia Muslims"....and Shia Muslim's only make up 8% of the global Muslim population. Very misleading.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I was looking for something insightful when I spent a lot of money on this book, but I found myself frustrated, manipulated, and misinformed from beginning to end. I could not believe that the author would actually refer to the reader as 'us' when he made his profoundly biased claims against Islam. What kind of 'academic historian' would use the words 'us' when speaking to the public at large on such a divided issue? He ignores some very important aspects of Islam. Something fishy is going on here. I'm not an academic and I'm not a muslim, but I was deeply annoyed by this author and the disservice he has done to humanity. He's not even a good writer. Not recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent and informative book that seeks to answer the question of our time: can Islam and the West co-exist? I found it intriguing and speculative, though at times the prose was tedious and tiresome. However, probably the best book out there on understanding Islamic thought and Middle Eastern history. These authors offer much substance and all conclusions are backed up with well presented arguments. A step toward bringing two seemingly different worlds together, I highly recommend it. And if you're looking for a few other great titles, look no further than these, Buckland's Hot List: most creative, The Butterfly: A Fable (Singh); most engaging, The Alchemist (Coelho); most interesting, Life of Pi (Martel); most enlightening, 9-11 (Chomsky); most thrilling, The Lovely Bones: A Novel (Sebold); and finally, the most creative, engaging, interesting, enlightening and thrilling book of all, The Little Prince (Saint-Exupery). These are the books I'd recommend to my family, friends, students, and wife. There are many more, trust me, but these are the first that come to mind (for having left an impact slight or proud as it may be). If you have any questions, queries, or comments, or maybe even a title you think I should add to my list, please feel free to e-mail me. I'm always open to a good recommendation. Thanks for reading my brief but hopefully helpful review. Happy reading. Donald S. Buckland.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the best that I've read in a long time. Bernard Lewis takes a complex problem and breaks it down into an easy to read and understand book. The book is so well written, that time just passes by. This is a must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I¿m not much of a reader, but I bought 2 books recently that shed light on perplexing subjects. One is Make Every Girl Want You by Fate and Reil, which shed more light on women than I ever could¿ve hoped for. The other is The Crisis of Islam by Bernard Lewis. Lewis really explains all of the volatility of the Middle East. He tracks the history of the anxiety and volatility through history, starting with the time of the Crusades!! The book ties Israel to the United States, as the devils of the Middle East. The ease with which he explains these topics is amazing. I¿ve read numerous newspaper and magazine articles about the Middle East, but none of them convey the message as clearly and easily as Lewis. You can tell that this author has devoted his life to studying the Middle East, and truly has great comprehension of this region and its political and religious issues. I highly recommend this book, especially to people looking for clarification on what exactly started this whole mess and how we got where we are!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! And I soon realized how ignorant I was about the Middle East. I also enjoyed The Little Samba Boy which is a satire on Bush and the media. Not to mention all the works by Micheal Moore and Noam Chomsky. These are all the works that help one understand the entire picture.
John Carnick More than 1 year ago
This guy is well balanced and knows his subject. Highly recommend this short book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I respected his courage for writing such a book. Although I personally disagree some of his writings, but overall.. he has done a good job in giving information about the Muslim world. Chapter Nine 'The Rise of Terrorism' good chapter for everyone to read. Some theories about 9/11, information of terrorism, and many more should be interesting for all of us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A must read. This book is the best that I've read in a long time. Bernard Lewis takes a complex problem and breaks it down into an easy to read and understand book. The book is so well written, that time just passes by. This is a must read. Also recommended: Keshner's Cockpit Confessions of an Airline Pilot, ( a hidden gem )! and Bin Laden: The man who declared war on America.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lewis, once fined by the court for concealing evidence of Armenian genocided, again neglected to reveal that his view was tainted by his experience as a longtime British government agent. His pasting-over the West's roles in history events distorts the depth of emotions of the subject of his book. I recommend that all readers read him with a critical eye (especially considering the fact that the acclaimed religious expert could make the rather obvious blunder of calling Confucious teachings a religion).