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The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror Paperback – 8 Jan 2004


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The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror + What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response + The Middle East: 2000 Years Of History From The Birth Of Christia: 2000 Years of History from the Rise of Christianity to the Present Day
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (8 Jan 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753817527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753817520
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 105,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Steven Harris on 30 April 2003
Format: Hardcover
Many of the most intractible flashpoints in the world today arise where the Islamic and Judeo-Christian worlds clash. The list of recent past includes the invasion of Iraq, the Russian and then American-led invasions of Afghanistan, the clash in Israel and 9/11. One particular problem shared by the US and its allies is that of Islamic extremism.
This slim, elegantly written volume (127 pages) distils the events which have created the mindset of Islamic extremists today. Themes include recent poverty and tyranny in Muslim countries, Islamic underperformance against European based cultures, the requirement of Muslims to convert non Muslims, and the way history has shaped the attitudes of Muslim extremists. The quite recent emergence of extremism with global reach is traced.
Themes are covered with a light but deft touch and provide a marvellous insight into what has led to the hatred felt by many Muslims for the West and in particular the "Great Satan."
This is a very good book about an issue all too prevalent in world affairs. It distils years of study by the author and presents a complex subject with great clarity. While easy answers are not obvious, this book provides the next best thing, which is an understanding of the issues. I for one will be reading other books by Bernard Lewis.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DMJ MIAH on 29 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is another fantastic book written by an author who has contributed in the understanding and the failures of Muslims. If people from the Muslim world actually looked in the mirror a little critically then maybe they would be celebrating the potential of what they can achieve. Instead of looking at the "glorious" past the need to consider the future for the sake of peace is now essential.

The book tackles some of the short coming of the many thinkers from the last 400 years.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By "freakmode" on 9 July 2003
Format: Hardcover
Bernard Lewis' slight volume explains the reasons and causes behind the current climate of terrorism and Islamic radicalism. He explains in detail the theory behind Al Qaeda leader Usama Bin Laden's call for jihad, the true nature of the religion of Islam and most interestingly the reason behind many Muslims anti-Americansm and anti- Western thinking.It also discusses the role of the USSR, and sheds insight into how and why American foreign policy came to be the shambles it is today. A fair and unbiased approach, this book is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the true causes of terrorism, distrust and misconceptions associated with Islam and provides a good alternative to the overload of writings blaming Islamic radicalism on anti-semitic and anti-zionist philosophy.
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38 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Mar 2004
Format: Paperback
As someone with some familiarity with the Middle East and Islam and keen to know more, this book was perfect. Its style was more journalistic than academic and information and argument were set out clearly and concisely. Bernard Lewis manages to cover a lot of ground in this short book (only about 140 pages). I found the book so interesting that I managed to read it in a day. Perhaps some of the editing was not perfect and often there is a tendency to repeat points or jump around a bit logically, although the indexing and bibliography are good.
Overall, I enjoyed the book for its balance, objectivity, engaging style and excellent content. I definitely feel much more enlightened and I am hoping to read more of Bernard Lewis's writings on the Middle East.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. G. Mccarthy on 17 Feb 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The focus of this book is the question, `Why is so much of Islam seemingly antagonistic with the West?' Lewis attempts to answer this question by tracing the struggles between the Muslim world and the European powers, and later, America, the main object of hatred according to the argument of the book. Lewis argues that the reasons for this hatred are multi-factorial. Factors include the sense of loss and embarrassment because of increasing Western progress; a loathing of Western materialism, and ultimately, America's meddling in Middle Eastern affairs. Key also are certain individuals such as Sayyid Qutb, who, shocked at the level of American morality (even in churches) wrote powerfully against what he perceived as the `new age of ignorance' (clearly a powerful issue as Islam was to replace an age of ignorance).

Lewis's book is very well researched and balanced, and the historical material receives full treatment, dispelling many myths along the way. As with other writers, he locates much of today's problems with the cult of Wahabbism. This book is a clear and excellent introduction towards an understanding of the motivations and aspirations of political Islam, and a thoroughly engaging read.
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Format: Paperback
I have been on the lookout for a brief and concise book about Islam for some time now, and this is it. To really understand what is going on in the world right now with regards to the “rift” between the Arab world and the west, you must at least have some fundamental understanding of history, both short and long term. It is possible to empathize with a view without agreeing with it, in fact it is essential if you really want to understand what is going on. It is also important to draw distinctions in a world where reaction abounds and often distorts facts through generalization. This book delivers all these things, and in a way anyone can understand.

The book has been criticized by some as an over-simplistic explanation, but this overlooks the fact that to many, simple is as much a requirement as it is a convenience. There is nothing wrong with simplifying facts, provided they are not distorted. This book clearly intends to serve as a layman’s guide to what could undoubtedly fill several hefty volumes, and it does a good job of it. I would strongly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the facts, but perhaps not enough time to make a rigorous study of it.
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