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Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam Paperback – 1 Dec 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Updated with New Chapters edition (1 Dec 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743233425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743233422
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 583,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The Kansas City Star" Robin Wright manages, against all odds, to get a fix on a phenomenon that is complex, elusive, and kaleidoscopic. Most impressive, however, is her ability to assess the situation with a clear eye, an objective attitude, and enormous intelligence.

About the Author

Robin Wright is chief diplomatic correspondent for the Los Angeles Times in Washington. She has reported from over 130 countries for CBS News, The Washington Post, and The Sunday Times of London. A recipient of a MacArthur Foundation grant and a National Magazine Award, she has also written for The New Yorker and has been a fellow at Yale, Duke, Stanford, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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Robert Ames, a former CIA station chief in Lebanon, had just begun a meeting with eight intelligence operatives on that brisk Monday afternoon. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Jan 2002
Format: Paperback
This book was released in the aftermath of the 11 September attacks and is a reissue of the 1985 edition with a couple of additional chapters in an effort to bring it up to date. The writing is in a very readable journalistic style. Although very insightful and informative, it is clearly written against a specific target audience, and at times attempts to simplify matters too much. This makes it less valuable to the specialist or general reader who wants to get past the superficial. Unfortunately, the original chapters have not been updated, so at times there is an appearance of disjointedness as some comments and analysis has been superseded by events.
Wright can write very well, and the book's early chapters although dated are by far the strongest. They cover the early rise of the latest surge of Islamist fundamentalism well and through the anecdotal evidence provide an excellent atmosphere and insight into how we got where we are. The last two chapters try to bring the story up to the current situation (as at October 2001), but I believe that the jump is just two great.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Updated material strengthens Sacred Rage 8 May 2003
By J. Gillespie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Middle Eastern terrorism almost became white noise after hostage taking, embassy bombings, hijackings, and other violent acts lost their novelty. That changed, of course, when the volume was cranked way up on September 11, 2001.
There were those who anticipated the crescendo long before it sounded. Los Angeles Times correspondent Robin Wright covered the Iranian revolution, the attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut, and other regional violence and issues in the Eighties. She eloquently documented these events and their larger meaning in her seminal work, Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam, in 1985. Yet in attention span-challenged United States--even among those who read Sacred Rage--the spectacular attacks 16 years later still seemed to come as a complete shock.
Many books on Islamism were updated after September 11. The revised editions often consisted of rehashed material with new introductions and a few topical chapters tacked onto the end.
This is not the case with the trade paperback version of Sacred Rage. In fact, a very good book has achieved near greatness. Author Robin Wright's groundbreaking exploration of the rise and spread of Islamic fundamentalism does more than give tremendous context to what happened years later in Washington and New York. In a sense, the diverse material now coalesces as Wright explores the recent trend towards democracy among the same militants whose terror she covered in the Eighties. The recent edition even offers plausible solutions to conflicts between the West and the Middle East; glimmers of hope even manage to appear now and again, which should be counterintuitive.
The new chapters that involve Osama bin Laden and his view of the future are striking and fit in naturally with the other material. Wright contrasts al-Qaeda's reactionary attempts to turn the clock back to 700 with the yearning among many Iranians and Lebanese for true democracy. This different world view is, to a large degree, the product of the repression of the Shia. This suffering helped give birth to the rage and wrath Wright chronicles, and in an ironic twist the author seems to think these Muslims might be the ones to embrace a democratic and pluralistic Middle East.
There are a few problems with the new version. Wright defines the terms "fundamentalism" and "Islamist" differently from some other authors. She uses the former in an almost negative sense, and the latter favorably. Of greater concern, Wright doesn't adequately explain why an Islamist Lebanon would be so radically different from the Sudan or Saudi Arabia. Also, her comparisons between America's Religious Right and Islamic fundamentalists are way over the top in 2003.
These are only minor gripes, though. Sacred Rage is more relevant today than it was when first published. Also, Wright has softened her near-apologies for the more extreme behavior she documented. This version sheds light on the struggle between those Muslims who want both democracy and Islam, and those who only want theocracy. That struggle inevitably involves the United States and the West. Sacred Rage suggests the West's interaction with the Muslim world can be constructive. This is preferable to the suggestion of an inevitable clash of civilizations. That gloom and doom scenario usually is offered by those whose knowledge of the region pales in comparison with others who always heard the background noise of potential violence and reported it years before the first plane slammed into the World Trade Center.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Informative, leaves the judgment to the analyst 29 Dec 2002
By Ahmed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
At first glance, I figured that this would be just some anti-Islamic ranting by some silly Western infidel. (What would you expect with such a title and cover photo?) Frankly, I was surprised and impressed with what I read.
The tone seemed very inviting to me, and probably to all others interested. Page by page, Robin puts forth great detail with seemingly no pressure to please any point of view.
However, she did maybe commit an overkill on the "fundamentalist extremist militant fanatic" vocabulary. But still, her tone forces the reader to accept the terms literally, and not with the hate-filled spirit as seen in other publications.
I recommend those interested in the topic to check this one out.
God bless, and strive for peace and justice.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Easy read , informative 14 Dec 2002
By danyew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In todays geo-political climate , its hard to get balanced views on an issue that has touched us all deeply in the past year . Passions run high and impassioned and reactionary responses from many quarters make the subject matter difficult to dissect , let alone understand and digest .
While written in the 80's and covering mainly events occuring from the birth of Islam to the 80's , I think the book is still very much applicable in the present day context . It will shed light on why we are seeing a virtual groundswell of antagonism toward the West and all things Western from our Middle east bretheren . Additional chapters on recent events were also helpful in updating the information up to present day .
You never get the feeling that the author has taken sides but this in no way translates into an academic lack of passion she feels for her subject . The book basically approaches the subject matter from the standpoint of trying to understand the roots of this groundswell but leaves the reader with ample room to formulate their own conclusions .
For the armchair political scientist interested in current affairs .
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Recent History 26 Aug 2002
By TheHighlander - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sacred Rage covers mostly recent history in the Middle east, from the 1980s forward. But this is the time period of the rise of militant Islam which this book seeks to address. It covers most of the Islamic countries, their leaders and their dissidents.
The book talks of the many terrorists attacks and their reasons, the perpetrators and the affects. Has the U.S. position in the Middle East hurt our standing? What has our military done in the Middle East in the last 20 years? How did the U.S. Governments miscalculations hurt us in Islamic eyes? What has Iran's role in world terrorism been? What are the differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims? Why do the Middle Eastern countries and people hate the west so much? For some insights and answers to these and many more questions, read this book.
This book goes a long way to explaining the many questions just asked. It explores the sometimes strained relations among the countries of the Middle East with each other. How do Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia get along? This book is insightful and provocative. I recommend it as a start to understanding what has been happening in our world in the last quarter of a century.
This book is a good starting place.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Good description of terrorists, vague on motivation 4 Mar 2002
By "savaskabob" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This new edition chronicles many of the militant Islam uprisings during the 1980s and more recently focuses on bin Laden. The major characters, victims and militants are well descibed. The author states right off that she is neither historian nor foreign policy expert, but rather uses narrative and interview. Unfortunately the motivations of the militant groups are often glossed over. The heinous actions of terrorist groups and their hatred of the US requires more analysis of the American behaviors and foreign policies that are anathema to so many. The growth of such groups in the Occupied territories, together with US complicity in Israeli violations of human rights and international law is a glaring omission for such an important issue.
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