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Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam Paperback – 30 Jul 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: I B Tauris & Co Ltd; Revised edition edition (30 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845112571
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845112578
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 3.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'I read this in Pakistan, over a period of weeks shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Its sweep across the broad landscape of radical Sunni activism was a revelation. The book is one of the few genuinely rigorous academic overviews of the social and historical roots of the phenomenon of modern Muslim extremism ranging geographically from the far east to Europe, and chronologically from the 1960s onwards that also remains readable. Its primary thesis that violent Islamic militancy is in large part a response to the failure of political Islamist activism has stood the test of time. Kepel is famous in France but almost unknown outside. This is a shame. A classic.' -- Jason Burke, The Guardian

'No-one else has attempted so bold an overview of the Islamist phenomenon. Of all the books on this subject, this is the most challenging and the most illuminating.' --The Economist

'deeply researched, deeply measured and deeply instructive - the best survey available and likely to remain so' --Justin Wintle, Sunday Times

'Simply excellent...' -- Malise Ruthven, Prospect

'Kepel's work... spans the world of political Islam, from the assassination of Egypt's President Anwar Sadat, to the establishment of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network in Afghanistan. He has the knack of explaining how events in one part of the Islamic world have affected developments elsewhere.' --Anton La Guardia, The Daily Telegraph

'deeply researched, deeply measured and deeply instructive - the best survey available and likely to remain so' --Justin Wintle, Sunday Times

'Kepel's work... spans the world of political Islam, from the assassination of Egypt's President Anwar Sadat, to the establishment of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network in Afghanistan. He has the knack of explaining how events in one part of the Islamic world have affected developments elsewhere.' --Anton La Guardia, The Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Gilles Kepel is one of the world's foremost experts on the current Middle East and is director of research at the CNRS in Paris, and Professor at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Oct 2002
Format: Hardcover
An excellent book offering the reader a deep insight into the world of political islam. At points the book can be slightly heavy going but only due to the detailed wealth of knowledge it delivers. If you are looking for a book for studing the Middle East or just to gain a real understanding of the region and the religion then this book is definately for you. I enjoyed it very much and despite having read extensively on the subject I learnt something new on every page. Well researched and a very informative writer Kepel, professor of the Institut d'Etudes Politiques and a CNRS luminary, adds an optimistic veiw. Even despite the inclusion of Osama bin Laden and the recent attacks he presents this as a last ditch attempt of a dying phenomenon. He claims the movement peaked in the 1970's and 80's and that we are entering an inevitable post-islamic era. This upbeat angle will please many of its US readers. Definately recommended
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An old e4dition, but still very useful with its combination of area focus and chronological perspective on the development of Political Islam in a formative period for the phenomenon.
Jan Opsal, Professor
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Caped Crusader on 12 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this interesting and detailed work, the renowned French expert on radical Islam, Gilles Kepel, attempts to document the brief history of "political Islam"; those within the Islamic faith who believe all states should be governed according to Shari'ah (Islamic law), with a view to the restoration of the Caliphate (Islamic pope). In other words, those who have come to be known as extremists, radicals or terrorists. The first half of the book deals with Islamism's rise and history, the second half deals with its demise.

The ideological movement began to grow when one of its key exponents, Sayyed Qutb, was hanged in Egypt on August 29th 1966. Although the execution of the Muslim Brotherhood's most important thinker was soon forgotten, by the end of the next decade his writings had become a potent force in Egypt and elsewhere. This rise came along with one of the key events in modern Middle Eastern history: the Saudi oil-embargo of the West following the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

With the price of oil rising rapidly giving the Saudis colossal revenues, the puritanical Wahabbi state set about spreading its influence, building thousands of mosques and distributing thousands of free copies of the Koran. From the rice fields of Indonesia, to the plains of Africa to the high rise housing projects of European cities, the same Korans and the same cassettes were available from one end of the Islamic world to the other.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By charlotte storm on 14 Mar 2005
Format: Paperback
Gilles Kepel is excellent. In this work he manages to scrutinize the both broad and complicated problem of political Islam without ever wandering off track. His view of islam appears to be neutral. He communicates the central problems of political islam, and more importantly, the central differences between the broad political movements and the violent extremes in an absolutely sober tone. I strongly recommend this book for serious students of the subject, i.e. university students or the like. This is not to be read as an introduction to the subject - its closer to being a conclusion.
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