25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Good book, but not really about Al Qaeda at all,
This review is from: Al Qaeda and What It Means to be Modern (Hardcover)I learned a lot about the evolution of "modern" thought but very little about Al Qaeda.
This is a great little book, easily downed in a day, but rewarding on re-reading too. Gray gently but devastatingly savages Capitalism, Communism, Globalisation, Radical Islam, Scientific Progress and the American Way, leaving liberals, nationalists, fascists, fundamentalists and many more scattered and bleeding. None of the fatuous histrionics of a Michael Moore (no CAPITALS and exclamation marks!!!!!), but in many ways a much more subversive writer. I was left with lots of new questions about the way we are, and how we came to be here. The author has a pleasing style that makes the work readable, but it's still quite a rigorous tour of politics and thought since the Enlightenment and the inter-connections of apparently opposed movements. If there is a disappointment it may be that Al Qaeda makes so few appearences until near the end of the book, despite top billing in the title. Gray sees bin Laden as a man of our own era, not a throwback to some golden age of Islam, and almost seems to dismiss Al Qaeda as just another (failing) part of the modern political system. If anything, science and technology seem to be the bad guys, fostering illusions that the modern era is different to the past.
This book will make you think, and want to know more.