Customer Review

13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars masterful, but flawed, 27 Sept. 2004
This review is from: What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response (Paperback)
Bernard Lewis is a master of his subject, and a master of literary style. His work is both informative and revealing with regards to the history of Islam and its present situation in the world, which in turn leads to an alternative perception of Western society. Most importantly, he is strikingly imaginative and innovative in his approach to the question - the analagous relationship mentioned below between polyphonic music, democracy and football provides an excellent example of that.
There are two criticisms I would make though. Firstly, (and it is a minor criticism) Lewis' tone can be condescending and patronising as he characterises Muslim attempts to imitate, or their outright rejection of, Western values. Sure, it's funny - but it lacked a bit of empathy and was more of an antrhopologist's outside-looking-in view of Islam rather than an insider's knowledge.
Secondly, Lewis does not answer the question "What went wrong?" and the related question (at least, I think it is inherently related) WHY did it go wrong? Having finished the book, I'm not sure as to when, what or why it changed, but I'm very aware that Islam's relationship with to West DID change and what the symptoms of that change are - and (and this is where Lewis is very good) what the crucial relevant differences between the two political and social cultures are.
The big question is tackled incisively but all too briefly in the 'Conclusion', the structure of which could suggest a better approach to the specific question. Issues are raised here that could have been drawn out, and in some cases really should have, in the main body of the work - Lewis appears to summarise what has not been expounded. And interesting ideas such as the Judeo-Christian/Judeo-Islamic nature of Israel deserve exploring, not confining to a single paragraph.
In essence, there's no argument running throughout the book that can be neatly tied up in a conclusion as its provocative title would suggest. This isn't surprising - it's formed, in a large part, from lectures and thus wasn't conceived as a coherent whole.
And it isn't actually particularly important - the question of "what went wrong?" and why, would take up a vast scholarly tome and this clearly isn't what Lewis was aiming for. What he sets out to do he achieves in style - a lucid, informative and illuminating and account of the dynamic interaction of Islam with the West.
In fact, exactly what he says in the subtitle.
JUST CHANGE THE DAMN TITLE, LEWIS.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

3.8 out of 5 stars (18 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (9)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
£9.99
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Top Reviewer Ranking: 6,359,934