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Shattering the Myth: Islam beyond Violence (Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics) Hardcover – 5 Apr 1998

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (5 April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691057699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691057699
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,113,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"Bruce Lawrence's excellent analysis of Islam today brings together socioeconomic, historical, political, and religious elements, and sets these against the backdrop of global capitalism and high technology . . . . Shattering the Myth is an extremely well argued, well developed and well documented book that serves as a basis for further studies of Islam and the images held about it."--Middle East Journal

"In this thought provoking and informative work, the author ... seeks to dispel the misconceptions and fears about Islam which are too often held by those with an incomplete understanding of what Islam is and what its followers believe and seek.... Anyone wishing to develop an accurate understanding of the subject should read this book."--Virginia Quarterly Review

"In Shattering the Myth, Bruce Lawrence takes us beyond the headlines and CNN broadcasts and shows us an Islam that is not quite as neat and tidy as popularly presented."--Ethnic Conflict

"The book makes the commonsense yet often overlooked argument that Islam must be understood, in its variety, as a complex and developing religious system not separated from the everyday and global concerns of Muslims.... Insightful analysis."--Religious Studies Review

"Shattering the Myth is an important book. . . . It is a brilliant example of applied religious studies."--History of Religions

"A timely contribution to an ongoing debate on the relationship between Islam and violence, a debate that has shed more heat than light. It cannot afford to be ignored by anyone interested in the relations between Muslims and people of other faiths."--Islamic Studies

From the Back Cover

Islam, Bruce Lawrence argues, is a complex, international religious system that cannot be reduced to stereotypes. As Lawrence demonstrates, Islam is a religion shaped as much by its own postulates and ethical demands as by the specific circumstances of Muslim people in the modern world. It is time, Lawrence believes, to replace inaccurate images of Islam with a recognition of the multifaceted character of this global religion and of its widely diverse adherents. Shattering the Myth provides significant insights into the history of Islam and a greater understanding of the varied experiences of Muslims today. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It shatters the myth, but there's still something missing. The book sets out to shatter the mtyh of the militant/violent Islam as portrayed in western media. This it accomplishes convincingly by highlighting how Islam cannot be generalised under one banner. The author does this by highlighting how islam has developed politicaly in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Pakistan to mention a few. It also highlight the differences between the experience of Muslim women in these countries against the view held in the west. Though these combine to shatter the myth one problem seems to persist. The impression left at the end of the book is one where Islam is still at odds with the West and will continue to be. Additionally the author seems to have ignored the Islamic movements outside the Muslim world , ie the Muslim minorities in western countries. Although the book does give a good insight into political islam in the 20th century, it may be necessary to read other titles fully appreciate Islamic movements and how they themselves are changing, albeit slowly, the opinions of the western world.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8dfbdf3c) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8df45258) out of 5 stars Not an Easy Read 15 Nov. 2001
By Randall L. Daut - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I first heard of this book during a public radio program on which the author, Bruce Lawrence, was one featured guest. I read the professional reviews and figured it would be a good book. I did wonder why no lay reader had reviewed it. Having now finished the book on Nov. 14, 2001, I wonder if I'm the only person outside the academic world who has ever managed to get through it.
I began by reading the introduction; that was almost a fatal mistake. The writing style was difficult to follow, and the language was arcane, sprinkled with words like "postmodern," "metanarrative" and "perspectivist." After bogging down in the introduction for several days, I moved on to the first chapter. Fortunately, the book became somewhat easier to follow at that point, but the author continued to use uncommon words where common ones would suffice and to use common words in uncommon ways. He also had a tendency to begin sentences with "If." The clause that followed the "If" typically referred to an argument that was not spelled out, but which the reader needed to infer from the context. The author also made frequent use of qualifying phrases that contributed to the difficulty of the reading without adding much to the meaning.
In the book, Bruce Lawrence surveyed the Muslim world, focusing on the role of fundamentalism in various Muslim countries, then turning to the role of women in parts of that world. He ended with a consideration of Jihad and corporate culture in Malaysia. His sections on fundamentalism and Muslim women were the clearest sections. In the last section, he tended to lapse into a more arcane use of language again.
I cannot criticize the content of the book, because I have been quite ignorant of the Muslim world until very recently, but I have the sense that the author had a comprehensive and subtle understanding of the material he covered. Though it certainly wasn't easy, I believe I learned a good deal from this book. In the current world context, I think many educated readers would appreciate and benefit from the author's knowledge. Alas, I doubt that most people will do so unless he can write something that is clearer and more accessible.
6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ee66630) out of 5 stars Islam is... Islams 28 April 2002
By John C. Landon - Published on
Format: Paperback
... This work explodes the myth in reverse, of the alien,hostile, and monolithic Islam, and is both a corrective to a corrective and useful as a reminder of the dangers of one-dimensional reduction of any socio-historical complexity, most especially Islam where the journalist impressionism of accounts of terrorism lose sight of the endless rooms in a large labyrinth. There many things, like the legacy of Sufism, are not even visible to the naked eye. We seem left to repeat, 'Islam is this, or this'. The scale alone of Islam is tremendous, and the Middle East is but one star in this constellation, one should retell the tale of the blindmen and the elephant. There is an irony to world history that the world of Islam suffers the abstract cunning and mathematically economic jihad of westernization turned globalization, and as bedouins all we might note the curious genaeology of inheritance in both systems.
This book was reviewed alongside Paul Fregosi's Jihad.
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