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On the Road to Kandahar: Travels Through Conflict in the Islamic World [Hardcover]

Jason Burke
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

25 May 2006
A brilliant, fearless journalist who knows huge areas of the Islamic world intimately, Burke now turns to the wider question of how we are to get to grips with radical Islam and what it really means. Burke has travelled all over the great arc of Islamic land, from the Middle East to Southeast Asia, and he uses this in his new book to great effect to show how various and completely unmonolithic Islam really is, and how the sort of standard Western generalizations about it are both stupid and dangerous.

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On the Road to Kandahar: Travels Through Conflict in the Islamic World + An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; First Edition edition (25 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713998962
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713998962
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 886,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Beautifully written ... an intensely personal and accessible story. -- Daily Mail, May 26, 2006

About the Author

Jason Burke is the prize-winning Chief Reporter for the Observer. He has covered the Middle East and Southwest Asia for a decade, and saw many of the key events described in this book at first hand. He is the author of Al-Qaeda (Penguin in 2004), which has sold 40,000 copies in paperback.

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First Sentence
We buried the letter at the bottom of one of our bags and left the next morning, travelling west in a local bus on a bad road that led across high hills with slopes of pines broken by slabs of grey rock. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
The author Jason Burke has written a book to be proud of with 'On the Road to Kandahar.' There is no denying that this book is a travelogue, however it is far more than a superficial travel diary. Jason Burke has spent over a decade in many Islamic countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The considerable time he has spent traveling means he has learnt languages that enable him to get far closer to the people of the countries he is exploring. He talks to the people, he ask them questions, he learns about their customs and and the impact of religion in their lives. What makes this book such a worthwhile read is that it is written by a western writer, so readers can identify with his viewpoint, however he never makes generalisations of the people he meets. He ask political questions about the influence of Al-Qaeda, and the politics behind the new international TV channels, without prejudice against Islam. Burke is a great writer because he shares his travels with the reader which draws you in. He never comes across as pompous, and the book draws you in to his very real adventure.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Important Book 9 Jun 2006
Over the last couple of years Jason Burke has proved himself to be one of the most informed and important writers on the Middle East and the Islamic World.

With this book Burke takes us through his own, personal, voyage through the Muslim world and, in particular, the most famous and difficult of territories. He starts as a young student - and would be reporter - in Kurdish Iraq., moves on to Pakistan, Afghanistan and then back to Iraq.

What is behind the rise in Islamic fundamentalism and why has so many turned to violence and terrorism? Why has the response of the West been so lacking? Where on earth do we go after Iraq? What is the prognosis of the future?

This is not only a personal journey but it is a journey through a changing and evolving world. What was once an issue in a far off land is now a neighbourhood issue for all of us as fundamentalist fighters find that new technology has placed them in the middle of a global economy and global society, where issues on the other side of the world are now global issues.

This is a barnstormer of a book; easy to read and yet very important. Burkes' analysis of how we've got to here is convincing. He has no easy solutions. Yet I'm sure that the only positive ways out of this mess will come out the kinds of discussion and analysis that Burke promotes.

A must for those interested in world politics today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard Work 18 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Bought for my husband who found it hard to get into the book and hasn't read all but only a part of it and has started a new book
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not much Impressed 10 Jan 2014
In this book the writer has played very clever. He pretends not to be prejudiced while writing about the Islamic world but is in fact inducing prejudice in the mind of his reader at various occasions. He lacks the courage to condemn injustice in his book.No doubt is a very clever writer.
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