Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
An astonishing book: harrowing, inspiring and ultimately optimistic
on 29 September 2014
This is a formidable book, commanding deep respect. It tells the autobiographical story of the author, once a member of the extremist Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) who has turned his entire life around and is now an advocate for democracy and human rights around the world. If that, in itself, doesn't make you want to read it (which it should), the book is also very well written, with the pace of a thriller. Be in no doubt, this is not an easy read in places. Maajid Nawaz spares nothing in his description of what it was like being tortured in an Egyptian prison; even the horrors closer to home as he relates his early teenage years make for a harrowing read. But what marks this book out is its pervading sense of optimism. Maajid demonstrates that it is possible to change, that even someone who has been radicalised can come back. And Maajid doesn't just come back, he has since co-founded the Quilliam Foundation (the world's first counter-extremism group) whose work focuses on helping to de-radicalise Islamists in the UK and beyond. He was also responsible for helping Tommy Robinson leave the English Defence League (EDL) and he continues to this day in championing freedom, democracy and human rights. A truly inspirational figure, this book leaves you with a sense of hope; that in spite of all that is wrong in the world, change is possible.
(As a side note, you may notice that the book has received several very negative reviews on Amazon. These reviews were part of a concerted effort by his former colleagues in HT to discredit Maajid. Ignore them: this book is phenomenal and deserves your attention.)