Based on interviews, field studies and internal literature, this is a blunt survey of the history, goals and influence of Islamic fundamentalism, particularly its Iran-based terroristic dimension. Khomeini is presented as one of history's great haters, a charismatic leader whose enmity is directed at all but the strictest adherents to his Manichean interpretations of the Koran. Images of blood and death abound: the Tower of Blood, a shrine in Tehran, is characterized by a guide as ``the essence of Islam's message.'' The book includes descriptions of the organization and training of such groups as the Brides of Blood and the Volunteers for Martyrdom. Taheri calls the Ayatollah's Holy Terror ``little more than a hodgepodge of medieval thought and methods borrowed from fascism and communism'' and scathingly remarks that death is its highest and noblest goal since it is unable to offer a life worth living. Taheri is the author of The Spirit of Allah. (November 9)
Taheri is the former editor of Iran's largest paper. Yet he is no advocate of Iran's revolution, but rather lays bare the fundamental dynamics and goals of the Ayatollah. He examines the instrument of terroruse of violence against the enemies of Islam and for coercion within Iranto achieve the expansion of Islam. In this quest the enemy has no worth and all means are justified. The picture Taheri paints of Iran and its posture toward the West is bleak, offering little hope for uncovering common interests. His book's value is in revealing the comprehensive nature of fundamental Islam and its acceptance and systematic use of violence. Richard B. Finnegan , Stonehill Coll., North Easton, Mass.