"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 book's great strength, and its claim upon our attention, [is that] it offers a long view in the midst of so much short-term and confusing punditry on television, in the op-ed pages, on campuses and in strategic studies think tanks."--Paul Kennedy, The New York Times Book Review
"When it comes to Islamic studies, Bernard Lewis is the father of us all. With brilliance, integrity, and extraordinary mastery of languages and sources, he has led the way for Jewish and Christian investigators seeking to understand the Muslim world."--National Review
"A timely and provocative contribution to the current raging debate about the tensions between the West and the Islamic world....One wishes leaders in the Islamic world would pay heed to some of Lewis' themes."--Stanley Reed, Business Week
"A sobering picture, delivered with persuasive detail and respect. Bernard Lewis comes not to bury Islam, but to praise what it once was--and might be again."--Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Lucidly argued and richly supported by telling quotations....Lewis is a persuasive chronicler of Muslim resistance to change and modernity."--Robert Irwin, Washington Post Book World
"An accessible and excitingly knowledgeable antidote to today's natural sense of befuddlement."--Michael Pakenham, Baltimore Sun
"Replete with the exceptional historical insight that one has come to expect from the world's foremost Islamic scholar."--Karen Elliott House, Wall Street Journal
"A provocative and suggestive review of Islamic response to ideas and practices of the Christian West....Lewis has given us a thoughtful treatment of the historical backdrop of the Sept. 11 tragedy."--Fritz Lanham, Houston Chronicle
"A compelling book. One of our most distinguished historians throws a floodlight on that cruel divide between the West and the societies of Islam. Learned and urgent at the same time."--Fouad Ajami, The Johns Hopkins University
"I know of no other scholar of Islam in the Western world who has more thoroughly earned the respect of generalists and academics alike than Bernard Lewis, a towering figure among experts on the culture and religion of the Muslim world....He has produced a topical, accessible and excitingly knowledgeable antidote to today's natural sense of befuddlement."--Michael Pakenham, Baltimore Sun
"An introduction to some important issues--and a lot of food for thought."--Christian Science Monitor
"Only a scholar of Bernard Lewis's quality could produce the sweep and depth of this fascinating analysis. He gives meaning to history, and illumination and challenge to the question he poses. He brings a clear and lively style to this beautifully written book."--George P. Shultz
"Muslim loss of civilizational leadership and retreat from modernity is at the center of global history over the last five hundred years and remains at this very time a major factor in international conflicts and diplomatic quarrels. What went wrong? Indeed. Muslims often have the feeling that history has somehow betrayed them, and on no comparable issue is the historian's potential contribution more important--the more so because the subject is plagued by ideological commitments, partisan blather, and the constraints of political correctness. People have shunned the topic for all the wrong reasons. All the more reason to be grateful for Bernard Lewis's interventions. No one knows better the languages and motivations of the players, and no one is more reliable in the objectivity of his judgments."--David Landes, Harvard University
"Both scholarly and interesting, it is a treat to read history from a Muslim perspective. It is very instructive for acquiring both religious and cultural understanding."--Timothy Yoder, Assistant Professor, Philadelphia Biblical University
Will there ever be peace in the Middle East? Why has it been so difficult to end the conflict there, a conflict that has gone on for centuries? How will the recent rise of Islamic extremism affect the prospects for peace in this most unsettled of regions? Renowned Middle East expert Bernard Lewis weighs in with his perspective on the problem, examining how and why things changed when the diplomatic and industrial victories of the Western world were suddenly eclipsed by a culture of fervent religiosity.
In the fields of Islamic and Middle Eastern history, few people are as prominent and prolific as Lewis, emeritus professor at Princeton. This time around, however, he has written a book with an inconsistent argument and an erratic narrative consisting of recycled themes from his earlier books, a work that sheds no new light on Middle Eastern history or on the events of September 11. His general argument is that Islamic civilization, once flourishing and tolerant, has in modern times become stagnant. This, he contends, has led to considerable soul-searching among Muslims, who ask themselves, "What went wrong?" But while sometimes the author states that there is a critical inquiry into the source of economic weakness in Muslim civilizations, other times he says that, instead of looking into the mirror, Muslims have blamed their problems on Europeans or Jews and thus fed their sense of victimhood. In medieval times, Lewis notes, Muslim civilization transmitted scientific ideas into Europe. But after offering intriguing examples of Muslim physicians and astronomers on the cutting edge in the 13th to 15th centuries, this chapter abruptly ends by stating that in modern times the roles have reversed, leaving the reader baffled over what between the 15th and the 20th centuries may have contributed to this reversal. Thus, the book raises more questions than it answers. Furthermore, Lewis discounts the effects of various decisions made by European and American colonial powers that negatively impacted the development of a democratic political community and a viable economy in the Middle East. Lewis's earlier books, such as The Muslim Discovery of Europe and The Middle East and the West, are much more useful for anyone seeking to understand the historical dynamic between these two parts of the world. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Since its inception in the seventh century, Islamic civilization has remained a significant force in the world. In fact, the Muslim world was a leader in the humanities, arts, and sciences while Europe was still in relative darkness and mired in internecine wars and religious zealotry. The Muslim world was also largely responsible for preserving and transmitting Greek and other Western scholarship to Christian Europe. However, Islamic civilization was eventually overshadowed by the achievements of European Christendom, and much of the Muslim world came under the direct or indirect domination of the West. In this highly readable book, eminent historian Lewis (Near Eastern studies, emeritus, Princeton Univ.) explains Islam's encounter with the West and the Middle East's varied responses to the West's sociocultural and political hegemony in the Muslim world. Like many of Lewis's previous writings on this subject (The Arabs in History), this book will undoubtedly generate significant debate and disagreement among scholars regarding the author's analysis of Islamic responses to modernity and Westernization. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, AL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.