Bernard Lewis is recognized around the globe as one of the leading authorities on Islam. Hailed as "the world's foremost Islamic scholar" (Wall Street Journal), as "a towering figure among experts on the culture and religion of the Muslim world" (Baltimore Sun), and as "the doyen of Middle Eastern studies" (New York Times), Lewis is nothing less than a national treasure, a trusted voice that politicians, journalists, historians, and the general public have all turned to for insight into the Middle East. Now, this revered authority has brought together writings and lectures that he has written over four decades, featuring his reflections on Middle Eastern history and foreign affairs, the Iranian Revolution, the state of Israel, the writing of history, and much more. The essays cover such urgent and compelling topics as "What Saddam Wrought", "Deconstructing Osama and His Evil Appeal", "The Middle East, Westernized Despite Itself", "The Enemies of God", and "Can Islam Be Secularized? "
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Fifty Years Of Good Stuff
I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the ME affairs.
The author is almost 100 years old and first visited ME prior to WWII. Accordingly, the material accumulated in this book spans an unbroken body of work of a duration one seldom sees.
The casual reader, however, needs to know many of the topic chapters (and there are a lot of them) might be a bit tedious if you do not know much about the subject. However, if you are the kind of person who knows the phrase Four Rightly Guided Caliphs you may be up to speed well enough. The matterial is not very difficult, however, and the reader kept my attention.
I plan to listen to much of it again and might even buy the Kindle version. This is because not all of the readings include the original date and they span well over 50 years. A tablet PC would be good as well in order to look up some maps, photos of places and the like.
Finally, I recommend YouTube University! I made that term up, but Richard Bulliet has some of the best lectures on the subject I have heard. These are full length lectures, often more then an hour long. I listened to them prior to listening to this book and it was fun to have a heads up!
Communication and the Diversity of World Views
This book seeks to identify basis of the problems currently faced in the middle east. They may be rooted in ethnici diversity and language barriers. The subtleties of language are frequently missed when trying to translate from one language to another. Some elements of cognition are not readily translatable. We use language to describe how we view the world . Some views are not readily translatable or understood by others holding different views.
I much appreciated the lucid description of the historic foundations for the problems of the Middle East. This is one of the best descriptions of the root causes of the Middle East problem that I have read. It is comprehensive, far reaching and in my opinion balanced in perspective.
Most people have good intentions. They seek a future which is better than the present. Simple revenge and or retaliation is not a justifiable cause for humans to act. Unfortunately these principles have not been adhered to throughout much of the History of the Middle East.
This should be read by anyone who is interested in Helping to Address the problems in the Middle East. I strongly urge my friends and colleagues to read the book and to understand how to help by sharing the message of the need for improved communication between people of diverse ethnicity and language. "Our Diversity is our Greatest Strenght."
- E. J. Potchen