Bernard Lewis avec The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror
The great scholar of Islam directly confronts the events of September 11th and the reasons behind Islamic terrorism in the modern world - a Sunday Times bestseller. President Bush has made it clear that we are engaged in a war against terrorism. But for Osama bin Laden and his followers this is religious war, a war for Islam against infidels, especially the United States, the greatest power in the world of the infidels. In this book Bernard Lewis shows us where the anger and frustration have come from, and the extent to which almost the entire Muslim world is affected by poverty and tyranny. He looks at the influence of extreme Wahhabist doctrines in the Saudi kingdom, where custodianship of Islam's holy places and the revenues of oil have given worldwide impact to what would otherwise have been an extremist fringe in a marginal country. He looks at American double standards, which have long caused Muslim anger, and tells us the real meaning of `Islamic fundamentalism', `jihad' and `fatwa', and why the peoples of the Middle East are conscious of history in a way most Americans find difficult to understand.
This has now just slipped off the Top Ten of the SUNDAY TIMES bestseller list which it has been on for a number of weeks. It was also featured in THE DAILY TELEGRAPH'S Books of the Moment on 26 April. Reviews not surprisingly havebeen excellent and they're still coming in: 'Lewis is brief and authoritative.'Michael Binyon, THE TIMES 'Readers who have been saturated with televisioncoverage and newspaper articles since 9/11 will find much to enlighten them in this book. Lewis writes clearly and elegantly, and his style is refreshingly free from academic jargon'Malise Ruthen, THE SUNDAY TIMES 'Bernard Lewis is not only the most eminent of living Arabists; he is also by far the most interesting.His latest book began life as a long essay for the New Yorker in November 2001, soon after the Twin Towers were struck; the rest of the text is new. The author's characteristic virtues are all very much in evidence: concision, readability, dry wit and devastating logic. This is vintage Bernard Lewis: he improves with age.'Daniel Johnson,THE DAILY TELEGRAPH 'Bernard Lewis has an authority all his own. In his eighties now, he has devoted a lifetime to the study of all aspects of Islam.He is the best available guide to the fraught and mostly unequal relationships which have developed over such a long time between Muslims and non-Muslims, and which so bedevil the present. Humanist in outlook and an exceptional linguist, Lewis is, on top of everything else, a graceful writer."David Pryce-Jones, THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 'Lucid and stylish'THE ECONOMIST 'Bernard Lewis shows himself again to be a master of his material, a graceful essayist and a shrewd analyst of the complexities of Middle Eastern politics and religion.'Bill McSweeney, THE IRISH TIMES 'He delivershis argument in clear prose which will entertain and fascinate the non-expert.'THE IRISH EXAMINER We have reviews still to come in THE FINANCIAL TIMES, THE OBSERVER and THE SPECTATOR.
From the Inside Flap
In his first book since What Went Wrong? Bernard Lewis examines the historical roots of the resentments that dominate the Islamic world today and that are increasingly being expressed in acts of terrorism. He looks at the theological origins of political Islam and takes us through the rise of militant Islam in Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, examining the impact of radical Wahhabi proselytizing, and Saudi oil money, on the rest of the Islamic world.
The Crisis of Islam ranges widely through thirteen centuries of history, but in particular it charts the key events of the twentieth century leading up to the violent confrontations of today: the creation of the state of Israel, the Cold War, the Iranian Revolution, the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, the Gulf War, and the September 11th attacks on the United States.
While hostility toward the West has a long and varied history in the lands of Islam, its current concentration on America is new. So too is the cult of the suicide bomber. Brilliantly disentangling the crosscurrents of Middle Eastern history from the rhetoric of its manipulators, Bernard Lewis helps us understand the reasons for the increasingly dogmatic rejection of modernity by many in the Muslim world in favor of a return to a sacred past. Based on his George Polk Award-winning article for "The New Yorker, The Crisis of Islam is essential reading for anyone who wants to know what Usama bin Ladin represents and why his murderous message resonates so widely in the Islamic world.
Bernard Lewis is Emeritus Professor of of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He was formerly Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at SOAS, University of London, from 1949 to 1974. He is a member of the British Academy, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Institut de France.