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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crisis of Islam
The Crisis of Islam is [as one other reviewer aptly put it] a slim elegantly written guide to the history the Islamic World that put into context some of the terrorist attacks committed by Islamist groups. The book was written in 2003 and was clearly intended to explain and put into context the terrible events on 9th September 2001 when Al Quaidau suicide bombers...
Published on 7 Oct. 2012 by Bacchus

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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of information, some propaganda, few ideas
The book looks like a collection of facts and factoids loosely connected together by very unconvincingly presented ideas. While the author manages to produce an interesting review of the history of the Arabs, it only picks some events that support a particular point of view. The book completely avoids to mention anything about the British influence in the Arab world and...
Published on 6 Feb. 2010 by Timur Lenk


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crisis of Islam, 7 Oct. 2012
By 
Bacchus (Greater London - Surrey) - See all my reviews
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The Crisis of Islam is [as one other reviewer aptly put it] a slim elegantly written guide to the history the Islamic World that put into context some of the terrorist attacks committed by Islamist groups. The book was written in 2003 and was clearly intended to explain and put into context the terrible events on 9th September 2001 when Al Quaidau suicide bombers deliberately killed thousands of people [including many non Americans and even muslims] in New York and Washington.

The writer, Bernard Lewis, was a professor at Princeton University [but British born and educated] and an expert in the history of Islam and the Middle East. His understanding of this area of study led to him being consulted by George Bush in trying to understand the nature of the hatred that most Muslims [apparently] have to the United States of America despite that nation's efforts to bring peace and stability to the Middle East. Having read the bok, the hopes of America succeeding in this enterprise appear forlorn to me.

I have always been struck by the contrast between the Muslims I meet and work with [with whom I enjoy friendly relations] and the angry ones who commit atrocities and who hold entirely unreconstructed views about women's rights and other issues that you hear reported in the news.

My recent reading of books aboout this whole subject has put these contrasts into context. First of all, Lewis reminds us that Christianity and Islam are very similar faiths in which the similarities far outweigh the differences. We should not forget that the history of Christendom has seen many of its own atrocities, like the Holocaust. I believe that economic and social factors matter more than religious ones and get the feeling that had Islam spread to Europe 1,500 years ago and the Middle East remained Jewish/Christian, the ways of life and course of history would not have been different.

In the writer's view, the behaviour of Islamists is not very 'Islamic' at all. For example, the Koran specifically forbids suicide [so suicide bombing breaks all Islamic laws] and fatwas are not 'contracts to kill' [e.g. a supposed blasphemer like Salman Rushdie], but simply legal judgments.

The most cogent explanation for the recent behaviour of Islamists has been the unprecedented oil wealth enjoyed by Saudi Arabia which has enabled the spread of a the Warhabi sect of Islam, which has promulgated a particularly intolerant strain of belief. Many converts to the Islamic faith have learned their faith through this sect simply because it is the most active body even though it [to Lewis' mind] distorts and selectively quotes the essential message. Lewis likens Warhabi within Islam to the Ku Klux Klan within christianity.

Plenty of food for thought here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 29 Mar. 2010
By 
DMJ MIAH (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spotlight on the mindset behind Islamic extremism, 30 April 2003
By 
Steven Harris (Tenterden, Kent United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job well!, 4 July 2014
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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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Reading, 9 July 2003
This review is from: The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror (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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5.0 out of 5 stars World-Changing but Oft-Forgotten Horrible Histories, 15 Mar. 2013
In this book, Bernard Lewis delivers a concise account of the course of Islamic history in relation to world history, very nicely dissecting for display in a simple readable fashion for example, the complex political interactions commencing around the time of the decline of the Ottoman empire,down to the 20th century interplay between the Communist powers, the Allies, and the Islamists, the deals and bed-fellows, and why the world is the way we now see it. It is not by any means comprehensive, by the constraint of it's size, it is not a scholarly volume with enldess footnotes, , but gives one a good framework of events that transpired, and tickles the curiosity no end. And I nknow not yet of any other book suitable for the purpose. Don't forget to read Robert Spencer's books on Islam though, they deal more with the teaching. God bless.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and important book, 17 Feb. 2009
By 
Mr. P. G. Mccarthy (Southampton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror (Hardcover)
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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38 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 30 Mar. 2004
By A Customer
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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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent analysis and informative, 22 Aug. 2014
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An excellent analysis and informative, but very little bit deviation to the favour of America, Such favour is acceptable and the book is easy to understand and scholarly written as Lewis is particularly a scholar on middle east issue.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great scholar on Islam past and present, 20 Jun. 2014
very good read on terrorism, jihad, holy war and an unbiased view on what has motivated it. it covers historical and contemporary reasons. very good and easy to read book. highly recommended.
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The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror
The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror by Bernard Lewis (Hardcover - 8 April 2003)
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