- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: OUP Oxford (25 Jan. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199212708
- ISBN-13: 978-0199212705
- Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1.3 x 10.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 25 Jan 2007
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Stimulating. (Roger Hardy, New Statesman)
Review from previous edition 'Ruthven's careful analysis of the phenomena ... provides a much-needed mental map [from] one of today's most perceptive observers and historians of religion.' (Guardian)
'...powerful stuff ... this book is perceptive and important.' (Observer)
This is a gentle, civilised book, written with some style. I enjoyed reading it. (Sasthi Brata, Spectator 10/04/2004)
The first clear definition of this indispensable yet misused term. (Anoush Ehteshami, University of Durham)
... an important contribution to the current political and cultural debates about Islam and the West, religious extremism, and the changing identity of supposedly secular societies. (R. Scott Appleby, University of Notre Dame)
About the Author
Malise Ruthven is a freelance writer and journalist, and visiting professor at the University of California, San Diego. A former scriptwriter with the BBC Arabic and World Services, he holds an MA in English Literature and a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University. He is renowned as a commentator on Islam and the Arabic world.
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Top Customer Reviews
My opinion is that it is charismatic men (not women) who interpret their sacred texts to accord with their particular values and beliefs (or fears and prejudices). These interpretations then serve as the basis for further (mis) interpretation, with promises of reward and punishments for adherents. The emergence of a fundamentalist orientation in the Islamic world seems particularly associated with political movements that seek to revive dispirited and oppressed peoples with the dream of reclaiming past glories, to ensure a fairer distribution of the state's wealth, and to counter what is seen as an economic and cultural oppression by the West. I imagine that the US policy of unstinting financial and hi-tech military support to Israel,and of regularly vetoing any UN criticism of Israel must foster intense anger among Muslims.Read more ›
Ruthven makes very clear that fundamentalism can have a variety of ambitions. The fundamentalism of America's Christian right aim to justify global evangelization and strengthen America's power. On the other hand, the Islamist ideas of Sayyid Qutb, which inspired al Qaida, have at their root a disgust with Western society or, as Ruthven puts it, reflect Islam's much resented loss of cultural hegemony. The Islamic fundamentalism of the Palestinian Hamas movement is essentially about territorial claims.
By going into fascinating detail about these ideas, Ruthven manages to explain their appeal to growing sections of society and their ability to justify violence on a massive scale. This makes for a terrifying scenario, but also for a fascinating read.
The book is a short, but very precise introduction to fundamentalism, which is highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Very Short Introduction series is a mixed bag but this one is bang on the button. If offers a good working definition of fundamentalism is and then offers examples to... Read morePublished 15 months ago by F Henwood
Brought this book for my college work, came in very handy. Will also need it again in the future for my next coursePublished on 17 Sept. 2013 by Lisa Mathew
Very good book for providing an initial starting point to fundamentalism, religious practices and the influence it has on political matters. Read morePublished on 17 Dec. 2010 by Purpletree
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