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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clever, biting satire of capitalism set in old Arabia, 23 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mercy of Allah (Paperback)
Belloc sardonically recounts the exploits of one Mahmoud, a sharp Baghdad merchant turned money lender who has grasped and clawed his way to the top. Ostensibly a critique of Islamic culture set many centuries ago, the book is really an attack on the unbridled greed of the modern West. As a work of socio-economic satire it forms a nice complement to Belloc's Distributist writings like The Servile State. A. N. Wilson calls it "the most brilliant of his fantasies."
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An amusing and cynical look at capitalism in every culture, 29 Jan 2005
This review is from: The Mercy of Allah (Paperback)
I found a battered forty odd year old copy of this book at my father-in-laws and was intrigued by the title. Instead of being look at the religion of Islam it is a tale of entrepreneurial endeavour and ripping people off, and could just as easily been set in France or England, Hillaire himself must have been a business man to see all the ways to make money unfairly.
It will not cause huge belly laughs but I smiled all the way through it. I looked for a copy in many shops before I bought a copy on Amazon for my Dad. I don't think he has looked past the title, which is a shame because I think he would enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Belloc satirising the financiers, 31 May 2012
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Hilaire Belloc was a writer who was often associated with his friend Gilbert Keith Chesterton. Chesterton is known today mostly from his religious books, though he was a far more important writer than this suggests. Belloc was of mixed French and English origin and was at home in both cultures. Belloc wrote a huge number of books, many of which would be worth reviving.

The two writers were associated with a political movement, the Distributists, which, following the encyclical Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII, advocated an amelioration of capitalism by forming cooperatives, something followed up in the latter part of the 20th century in the Mondragon companies of the Basque country in Spain, now expanding to other countries.

Belloc's book "The mercy of Allah" is a satire on the way rich financiers made their money. It is the story of a rich man and the dishonest means by which he cheated his way to riches. Belloc strongly disapproved of parasitical Finance as a means of making money and preferred industry which actually makes things people need. One can imagine his comments on the modern situation by which the sociopathic "banksters" have come to dominate and ruin the economies of the west. His book has thus become, once again, timely.

I have known of one chapter of this book - "Al Kantara" (the bridge) - for many years since I read it in an anthology of Belloc's writings in the 1960s. I have vaguely wished to find the complete book, and now it is available as a reprint.

The satire is set in the Islamic world but is clearly commenting on the financial situation of contemporary Europe (the 1920s).

Belloc was accused of anti-semitism in his time and some of the followers of the "Chesterbelloc" drifted off towards the fascism of the 1930s (though Belloc condemned Hitler). This book does not show anti-Jewish sentiments, and its setting in the Islamic world is a literary device, showing that financial sins are universal.

I recommend this book as a witty satire which deserves to be better known.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 1 Oct 2013
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I have not read much of Belloc's fiction, but I was not disappointed. I found this piece of satire ingenious and very funny. It very cuttingly points out the selfish greed on which capitalism is based. An excellent book. All of Belloc, I should say, is worth reading. He was a fully integrated man with his head screwed on correctly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, 30 July 2012
This book as another reviewer says is extraordinarily timely. It is a gripping yarn, shows an impressive insight into islamic societies and has a great deal to say about the greed of banks and the abuses of the current monetary system. Were it to be required reading in sixth forms it could have a beneficial effect on our society
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The Mercy of Allah
The Mercy of Allah by H. Belloc (Hardcover - 1928)
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