Whilst I am kept abreast of the predicament of Christians in many countries through engagement with active relief agencies and charities, this book deepened my understanding of the factors that come into play, and I recommend it most strongly. As the strap-line infers, by contrast to some other instances of persecution, for example the Muslim population of Burma/Myanmar, the oppression of Christians does not get the attention that it merits from the media or other sectors with political influence or power. Rupert Shortt does not ignore parallel persecution of other faiths, nor does he gloss over the evidence of misdeeds by Christians. But he provides disturbing global evidence of oppression of Christians that should challenge our political leadership in their realpolitik approach to such countries as Saudi Arabia.
A particulary valuable aspect of this book, which I endorse from personal experience in the field, is its stress on the long history of Christian communities in many of the countries where they are now labelled as alien and counter-cultural. We in the West are, by contrast, 'Johnny come latelys'. In this context faith groups in the UK, and particularly in the US, should consider very carefully the impact of their behaviour and evangelistic engagement, which can play into the hands of both governments and extremist groups who wish to brand Christians in their countries as agents of a 'western religion'.