Michael Gove's `Celsius 7/7' is an engaging and thought provoking text. His drive is to explain the escalation of the war against `the West,' long waged by Islamic fundamentalists. His argument takes a convincing tone by linking contemporary issues, such as the London bombings to the fundamental teachings and history of radical Islam. He traces the struggle with `the West' back to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the reflexive rise of the Brotherhood in the 1920's. Gove reveals how the teachings of the Brotherhood's leading advocates shaped the fundamentalist views of the morally corrupt West.
After setting the basis, Gove's argument takes on a new found momentum, skipping through the middle eastern countries and explaining their activity in the radicalising political map. He aligns this argument with how a series of failures have exposed `the West's' weaknesses, irretrievably damaging their solidarity and common purpose, whilst reinforcing the radical Islamic cause. Simultaneously, Gove explains how the actions of Western governments since the 1970's have encouraged terrorism, extending the argument to contemporary spheres like the Danish Islamists cartoons in 2005 and other examples of the narrow discourse of the current media. He expands these points in light of other recent political issues, such as the merging of the Left with radical Islamic groups and the exposure of fundamentalist sympathisers in the mainstream British media. Here the argument for moral clarity comes to life.
Gove's neatly organised and momentous account employs down-to-earth language which complements to his admirable style over the 152 pages. My review may be plagued by the admission I am not an expert on the subject of Islam. However, writing as a keen learner, the text held my full attention for its duration. I have read few similar books which are so thoughtful and yet make me eager to turn to the next page (when not turning to the limited notes at the back that is). The volume of information presented by Gove in support of his streamlined points, although not cited entirely consistently, will make stimulating reading again and again.
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