The Crisis of Islam

  • by Bernard Lewis
  • Narrated by Bernard Lewis
  • 4 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Bernard Lewis examines the historical roots of the frustrations and 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 tells us what the Islamic doctrine of jihad has meant at different times in history. And he takes us, as only he can, through the rise of militant Islam in Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, examining the impact of radical Wahabi proselytizing and Saudi oil money on the rest of the Islamic world.Crisis of Islam ranges widely through 13 centuries of history, but in particular it charts the key events of the 20th century leading up to the bitter and violent confrontations of today. The Second World War, 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 have all shaped Muslim perceptions in important ways.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. 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 Osama bin Ladin represents and why his murderous message resonates so widely in the Islamic world.


What the Critics Say

"Remarkably succinct...offers a long view in the midst of so much short-termism and confusing punditry. Lewis has done us all - Muslim and non-Muslim alike - a remarkable service." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A timely and provocative contribution to the current raging debate about the tensions between the West and the Islamic world." (Business Week)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Absolutely Worth It, HIghly Recommended!

Prof. Lewis has hit just the right length and level of detail. The author reads his own work, a definite benefit, although you will need to get used to his diction and vocal range (but that is generally true with audio books, and the Professor does better than most in my opinion.) His viewpoint on the current events pertaining to Islam, terrorism and Iraq is an historical one, lending a depth and breadth which are mostly missing amongst the pundits commonly heard on the news channels. He answers, or suggests plausible theories, as to why the events in the Islamic world, and in the Middle East in particular, are taking place. I now find the current Middle East events far more understandable.

The book is much like an extended college lecture, but is constructed more carefully and thus somewhat better listening. I listened on the way to work each morning, and I found myself leaving a little earlier than normal each morning as I looked forward to hearing more. Only a mild criticism, I found that the pace briefly slowed at about the 3/4 point, but in general this book moves forward as fast of most any of the historical/current events genre.

Five Stars!
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- Frank

Very Informative and Very Relevant

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this. The author gave a wonderfully concise and relevant review of Islamic events in the past have lead up to the attitudes and hostilities that are being expressed today. I had some knowledge of the practice of Islam as well as a familiarity with Islamic terms before listening to this which I feel was helpful in following along. Without this, I may not have gotten as much out of it. It has broadened my perspective and deepened my understanding of Middle Eastern events. I think anyone interested in foreign policy, world religion or current events would benefit greatly from listening to this.

The narrator had a bit of an accent which I thought added to my enjoyment as well. I am looking forward to listening to it again.
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- reggie p

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-28-2003
  • Publisher: Random House Audio