- Hardcover: 500 pages
- Publisher: Prometheus Books; 1st Edition edition (1 Jan. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591024846
- ISBN-13: 978-1591024842
- Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.5 x 23.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 246,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said's 'Orientalism' Hardcover – 1 Jan 2007
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"Ibn Warraq's critique of Said's thought and work is thorough and convincing, indeed devastating to anyone depending on Saidism. It should force the Saidists to acknowledge the sophistry of their false prophet."
--"Middle East Quarterly, "reviewed by A.J. Caschetta
"Ibn Warraq has written a brilliant and luminous book of cultural analysis and intellectual history. He reminds us of so many precious things in the West - and of it - that are worth upholding in the face of critics who enjoy Western liberties and denigrate them at the same time. This is more than a demolition of Edward Said's Orientalism: In its own right, it is an exquisite inquiry into the great ideas at play in our world."
--Fouad Ajami, professor at The Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, and author of "The Foreigner's Gift"
"For decades Edward Said enjoyed the best that Western academic life had to offer - international celebrity, plaudits, honors and fame beyond the wildest dreams of most professors - while constantly bashing the history, values, and policies that have made this privileged existence possible. In Defending the West the eminent intellectual Ibn Warraq exposes with razor sharp precision the hypocrisy of Said's writings as well as the perverted academic culture that has made his great success possible. With this important new book Ibn Warraq has once and for all dispatched Orientalism to the dustbin of history."
--Efraim Karsh, head of Mediterranean Studies, University of London, and author of "Empires of the Sand and Islamic Imperialism: A History"
About the Author
Ibn Warraq is the highly acclaimed author of Why I Am Not a Muslim and Defending the West. He is also the editor of The Origins of the Koran, What the Koran Really Says, Leaving Islam, The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, and Which Koran?.
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Top Customer Reviews
Warraq's response is written from a liberal standpoint ("liberal" in the European sense of Locke and Mill), so conservative Catholics or fascist nationalists probably won't like this book. The Western traditions Warraq is defending includes belief in the unity of the human race, the universality of human rights, objective truth, dispassionate search for knowledge for knowledge's sake, rational discourse, self-criticism, democracy and (perhaps) free trade. Above all, however, Warraq defends the idea of an authentic melting pot, where different cultures (including "Oriental" ones) influence and fructify each other. In Warraq's opinion, only the West has been a genuinely and consistently open-ended culture of this kind, characterized by curiosity in "The Other", at times bordering on outright "barbarophilia". Thus, there is no static, essentialist, racist, colonialist "West" locked in perpetual struggle against an equally essentialist "Orient".Read more ›
Part 1 of the book is largely a reprint of an old essay Warraq wrote refuting Said. It serves as a general overview of the whole book.
Part 2 is where it gets really good. Warraq argues that there are "Three Tutelary Guiding Lights" that define humanity, and he demonstrates with countless examples how the West has embodied these principles more than any other civilisation in history. The three guiding lights are rationalism (learning for its own sake), universalism (acceptance, tolerance and admiration of other cultures and willingness to learn from them), and self-criticism, which leads to positive change within cultures (Warraq points out that it was the West which abolished slavery, for example). All the while, however, the author does not denigrate the Orient and Islamic civilisation, and gives them credit where it's due.
I also enjoyed the section later in the book where Warraq outlines the racist attitudes that are prevalent in the Orient, which Edward Said never mentions and the mainstream media never covers, including the surprising revelation that Mahatma Gandhi was a racist and warmonger in his earlier years.Read more ›
Said's polemic has very much become the accepted dogma of university departments across the world that study any of the subjects covered by 'Orientalism'. Ibn Warraq refutes the perfidious lies of Said meticulously and with brutal candour in this antidote to Said's pro-Islamo-Fascist and nihilist Far Left propaganda.
The effect of Said's work has been to slander the valuable work of generations of genuine scholars on the Middle East and Islamic world. but his work has gone much further than academia. He taught an entire generation of Muslims and Arabs 'the art of self-pity' which has led to the rise of Islamo-Nazi fundamentalism and terror that is the biggest threat to the freedom and decency of the world today.
Warraq points out Said in his fraudulent creation of the concept of "the other", a cliche rammed down the throats of university students around the world, is never used to apply to non-Muslims or even non-Arabs in the Islamic world.
Peoples such as the Copts, Maronites, Mandaens, Samaritans, Assyrians, Greek Orthodox Christians, Chaldeans, Berbers Zoroastrians, Baha'is and especially Jews are denied the status of Orientals and the protected status of 'the Other'. They simply do not exist in the world of Said and his intellectual followers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another excellent counterweight to postmodernist and 'orientalist' critiques.Published 19 months ago by Peter Pan
This "Ibn Warraq" guy is a pure Muslim hater presenting facts falsely just to puke out the vitriol of hate he has for Islam and Muslims. Disgusting. Read morePublished on 9 Feb. 2011 by Book Reader & Tech User
I downloaded the free extract on the kindle and found it so appalling that I didn't bother buying the book. Read morePublished on 17 Dec. 2010 by E.Bond
This book is a waste of time.
The author's attempt to establish a counter-thesis to Mr. Said's has failed badly. Read more
Perhaps the book might have been appreciated if the intellectual arguments were sustained without being favouratized, biased, incoherrent, inconlusive and somewhat delusional of... Read morePublished on 17 Dec. 2008 by rosypetals
Said's 'Orientalism' is a racist, inaccurate tract of suspect scholarship. This book is a splendid riposte. Read morePublished on 25 July 2008 by Mr. P. Briody