27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Informative and Insightful Reflection
Michael Gove's `Celsius 7/7' is an engaging and thought provoking text. His drive is to explain the escalation of the war against `the West,' long waged by Islamic fundamentalists. His argument takes a convincing tone by linking contemporary issues, such as the London bombings to the fundamental teachings and history of radical Islam. He traces the struggle with `the...
Published on 15 Feb 2007 by Mr. Peter Martin
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poison
The nastiest book I have read for many years. Full of poisonous prejudices, historical howlers and axe-grinding. Really astonishing and alarming that this man is in charge of UK school education
Published 10 months ago by Bart Moore-Gilbert
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Informative and Insightful Reflection,
This review is from: Celsius 7/7 (Hardcover)Michael Gove's `Celsius 7/7' is an engaging and thought provoking text. His drive is to explain the escalation of the war against `the West,' long waged by Islamic fundamentalists. His argument takes a convincing tone by linking contemporary issues, such as the London bombings to the fundamental teachings and history of radical Islam. He traces the struggle with `the West' back to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the reflexive rise of the Brotherhood in the 1920's. Gove reveals how the teachings of the Brotherhood's leading advocates shaped the fundamentalist views of the morally corrupt West.
After setting the basis, Gove's argument takes on a new found momentum, skipping through the middle eastern countries and explaining their activity in the radicalising political map. He aligns this argument with how a series of failures have exposed `the West's' weaknesses, irretrievably damaging their solidarity and common purpose, whilst reinforcing the radical Islamic cause. Simultaneously, Gove explains how the actions of Western governments since the 1970's have encouraged terrorism, extending the argument to contemporary spheres like the Danish Islamists cartoons in 2005 and other examples of the narrow discourse of the current media. He expands these points in light of other recent political issues, such as the merging of the Left with radical Islamic groups and the exposure of fundamentalist sympathisers in the mainstream British media. Here the argument for moral clarity comes to life.
Gove's neatly organised and momentous account employs down-to-earth language which complements to his admirable style over the 152 pages. My review may be plagued by the admission I am not an expert on the subject of Islam. However, writing as a keen learner, the text held my full attention for its duration. I have read few similar books which are so thoughtful and yet make me eager to turn to the next page (when not turning to the limited notes at the back that is). The volume of information presented by Gove in support of his streamlined points, although not cited entirely consistently, will make stimulating reading again and again.
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timely and important,
This review is from: Celsius 7/7 (Hardcover)Much as it grieves me to praise a book by a Tory MP from the Home Counties, here goes. Yes this is a good book! Timely and important and a wake up call to those who would provide succour for Islamists.
The book is well-written and provides background on the roots of the current trend towards Islamism amongst a cerain section of the muslim community around the world. It also decries the moral and cultural relativists for whom the West is no better or no worse than some of the fascistic, theocratic or arsitocratic dictatorships with which the Islamic world finds it self saddled with. It illustrates the real danger and the real agenda behind Islamism - nothing less than the defeat of the West and the implementation of a global state governed by Sharia Law. The analogies to the rise of fascism and the totalitarian excesses of communism are starkly exhibited here.
The book compares well with other material I've read on the subject. It is much more sensible than Oriana Fallaci's "The Rage and The Pride" (but then it couldn't fail to be!). It is more balanced and serious than Bruce Bawer's "While Europe Slept". However, I'm not sure it is as good as Nick Cohen's "What's Left" (though this book is ostensibly about the idiocy of some on the left and in the liberal intelligentsia, it's central theme is the response to Islamism).
I don't agree with everything that Michael Gove says. I think he is a little too naive on the subject of Israel for example. Yes Israel is a lone democracy surrounded by autocratic states, but it does not entirely excuse what Israel does. Whilst Gove does finally admit that the Palestinians have a right to statehood he does rather gloss over the facts regarding their original denial of that goal.
Gove blames much of the appeasing attitude of the European left on their rejection of the legitimacy of the nation state. Whilst this is undoubtedly an issue it is nowhere near as big a reason as the replacement of the industrial working class by the poor of the developing world as a cause celebre amongst the modern left and the liberal classes.
I have a problem on critiques of the left from those who are not and have never been members of the left. They are free to criticise but they generally seem to find it difficult to restrain themselves and write less than magnanimously about the prominence of capitalism in the 21st Century. I'd rather read Nick Cohen, David Aaronovitch or Christopher Hitchens for a more genuine view on this. The fact is that the threat from Islamism should bury old left/right enmities - it is that serious!
A good book and well worth the read.
46 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading,
This review is from: Celsius 7/7 (Hardcover)I read Melanie Phillips's "Londonistan" before reading Gove's book. Both books cover roughly the same ground, but I have to say that Phillips's tone can become rather exasperating, no matter how important the topic. Gove's book, on the other hand, is eminently controlled, level in tone, well researched and well written. For these, and for other reasons, "Celsius 7/7" is the more powerful of the two volumes.
And it is mercifully concise.
In his conclusion Gove makes an appeal that we would all do well to heed:
"More broadly, we also need to rediscover and reproclaim faith in our common values. We need an ideological effort to move away from moral relativism and towards moral clarity, as well as a commitment to build a truly incusive model of British citizenship in which divisive separatist identities are challenged and rejected."
Gove's is a clarion call to all of us to defend liberty and rationality. Unless we do this, we may well find ourselves heading rapidly towards a time of repression by religiously motivated totalitarian ideologues.
42 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brave and Thought Provoking,
This review is from: Celsius 7/7 (Hardcover)Mr Gove has produced a thought provoking book which addresses many issues relating to Islamism that the media have been unwilling to cover in any meaningful manner.
I only hope this book is read as widely as it deserves as it will contribute to a more wholistic understanding of current affairs.
If you are serious about understanding the truth of many of the forces shaping international relations (or those that should be), read this book.
62 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant account of both the rise and current basis of militant Political Islam,
This review is from: Celsius 7/7 (Hardcover)My habit of underlining key passages of good books was ruined by this short but brilliant book.
I found myself underlining whole pages!
Gove has written a concise and superbly argued account of not only political Islam and also its revolutionary ambitions (like Communism and Nazism before it) and the anti-Western appeasement that fosters it today.
This is not another trite history of Islamic terrorist movements, but a concise examination of the ideas and intellectual foundations of Political Islam. It is to this subject what Peter Watson's magnificent "A Terrible Beauty" was to 20th century history - an account not of mere events, but the ideas that underpinned them.
Gove's treatment of the role of Israel is superb. Over two chapters he carries out one of the most intellectually potent defences of Israel I have ever read.
His comments on Iran and Hezbollah are prophetic and extremely timely considering current events in Lebanon.
His analysis of the interplay and relationship between Western academics, the mainstream media, left wing politics and Islamism is outstanding.
I rate this as one of the best political books I have ever read.
It is up there with "Democracy in Europe" by Larry Siedentop and "Politics: A Very Short Introduction" by Kenneth Minogue as a "must read" for those who want a comprehensive understanding of Western values, the ideological threats to those values and the means to defend them.
Gove's thesis that global political Islam has is a standard issue 20th century revolutionary movement like Communism is utterly convincing. He demonstrates how all pretexts and supposed root cause grievances are mere devices used to throw off the western media and public.
Their real ambitions are stated openly for anyone willing to see: The creation of a neo-fascist totalitarian theocracy with all the trappings of "purification" "volk" and "inferior races" that are to blame for all woes.
Read this wonderful book. You will thank yourself.
53 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timely publication.,
This review is from: Celsius 7/7 (Hardcover)Michael Gove’s Celsius 7/7 hits many nails on the head with his analysis of the philosophical weakness afflicting western culture in the face of determined Islamist aggression.
Western culture is weak because the advocates of its superior attributes are determinedly demonized and undermined by the mainstream media without proper defence from governments too influenced by the ignorance of the advocates of moral equivalence, the plotting of agent provocateurs, and political opportunists.
This is an important book for many westerners to read and digest.
62 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best analysis of this issue to date,
This review is from: Celsius 7/7 (Hardcover)If you are to buy one book this year, this should be it. I don't think any British politician has written anything more to the point, more eloquently argued, or more restrained in years. The reviewer who claimed Gove is ignorant of Islamic theology, Middle East history and so forth should be made to sit an exam in the subject, where his or her own ignorance will surely be revealed. I have a PhD in the field and have taught and written extensively about it, and I have to say I found this exposition thoroughly accurate in its assessments. For a non-expert, Michael Gove has done his homework well, and I think no reader need fear being led down a primrose path. I was impressed by the author's command, not just of his subject, but of his emotions. Melanie Phillips's Londonistan tackles much the same issues and does so well; but Melanie can be strident and a little over the top; Gove, by way of contrast, remains in firm control. This is a wake-up call, but an intelligent, balanced, and relevant one. If you think Fukayama or Huntingdon seminal works on the modern international situation, you will do well to read Gove. In barely more than 100 pages he has said all that need be said on the subject of Islamic radicalism, its roots, its processes, and its aims. He has dug firmly into the abysmal record of the British Left and Centre, not as a gung-ho Tory, but as a liberal, a democrat, and a firm believer in the values of Western culture. That so many people still do not grasp the very real threat a radicalized Salafi Islam poses to the most important principles of Western democracy, from freedom of thought, speech, and religion, to the rights of women, gays, and religious minorities is itself a sign of how weak our culture has become. All this and more is analysed by Mr Gove with a very fine-cutting scalpel. Buy copies for yourself and your friends.
37 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strategic & Moral Clarity in Response to Islamist Totalitarianism,
This review is from: Celsius 7/7 (Hardcover)For those of us who have struggled to make sense of Islam amidst the swirling fog of current events this is a welcome breath of clear air.
Even as I read the book (Dec 2006) the contorted history of events in Somalia took another twist. The succinctly outlined perspective of Michael Gove helped provide a framework against which to process such current events as the Ethiopian military defeat of the Islamists.
Indeed, this is a model, not only of clear moral and strategic thinking, but of putting issues and events in a proper perspective - a rarity in our postmodern dominated society.
It was helpful to bracket Islamist totalitarianism alongside their 20th century bedfellows of communism and facism.
It was helpful to have 10 key factors which have facilitated Islamist advances in recent years (chapter 9).
It was helpful to trace the leading characters of the Islamist philosophy and the organisations which perpetuate their evil. Some of these were familiar but their import and relation to specific events were, in my mind at least, fog bound!
It was helpful to review the Iranian revolution, the liberation of Iraq, the fatwa on Rushdie, the Danish cartoons of Mohammed and much, much more through Michael Gove's analysis.
Of course not all of this is new. Natan Sharansky has already written very effectively about moral and strategic clarity and the clash of cultures in current events in The Case for Democracy. Gove, however, repeats the clarion call in relation to the Islamist advance and provides a powerful minority critique of the West's inadequate defence of it's culture and foundations. And all of this with admirable brevity and a minimum of partisan padding.
Celsius 7/7 does have some minor niggles. The endnotes are frustratingly inconsistent. Sources are sometimes recorded and sometimes not, and in any case where they are, the citation is hardly helpful. For example. 33% of the notes are simply references to `BBC News' on a particular date, a citation which is neither precise nor authoritative.
But such editorial quibbling aside this is a book which is magisterial in its message and both compact and compelling in its content.
26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learning the lesons of appeasement,
This review is from: Celsius 7/7 (Hardcover)Like similar voices in the wilderness in the 1930s, Gove warns against the dangers of appeasement.He also makes interesting parallels between 20th century ideologies of nazism, fascism and communism and the new threat of islamism.
He marshalls his evidence well but whilst this reader accepts his views on UK domestic failures, he could not agree with Gove's view that the war in Iraq is part of the struggle to protect liberal democracies from the threat we face from within.
29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most important book you will read this year. Bar none.,
This review is from: Celsius 7/7 (Hardcover)The author argued, in a piece published in The Times on the morning before the 9/11 attacks, that the West's response to Islamism made further terrorist attacks inevitable. If you read the reviews below which claim that this is an ignorant work from someone who does not know what he is talking about, keep that in mind.
Gove makes his case with rare clarity and brevity. The book is less than 150 pages long, and yet manages to trace the roots of Islamism, its rise, the West's pitiful reaction to it, and the response to that reaction. The argument is cogent and the conclusion chilling. It was so absorbing that I missed my train stop.
There is plenty of room for disagreement on some aspects of the book. The robustness of his defence of Israel will be too much for some, and omits to discuss many of the complaints against it. Similarly, his linkage between left-wing politics and anti-Western sentiment is rather tenuous. But even here, it is utterly refreshing to see a viewpoint so different from the confused consensus of the mainstream media. As another reviewer wrote, Gove provides a new frame of reference for these subjects. It might just help to make more sense than the old one.
In short, this is the most important book you will read this year, or perhaps this decade. If you think there is anything at all about Western civilisation worth preserving, however imperfect, then buy a copy for yourself and everyone in your family.
My only regret is that I cannot give this book the six stars it deserves.
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Celsius 7/7 by Michael Gove (Hardcover - 29 Jun 2006)
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