How to Win a Cosmic War

  • by Reza Aslan
  • Narrated by Sunil Malhotra
  • 7 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A cosmic war is a religious war. It is a battle not between armies or nations, but between the forces of good and evil, a war in which God is believed to be directly engaged on behalf of one side against the other.The hijackers who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, thought they were fighting a cosmic war. According to award-winning writer and scholar of religions Reza Aslan, by infusing the United States War on Terror with the same kind of religiously polarizing rhetoric and Manichean worldview, it is also fighting a cosmic war, a war that can't be won.How to Win a Cosmic Waris both an in-depth study of the ideology fueling al-Qaida, the Taliban, and like-minded militants throughout the Muslim world, and an exploration of religious violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Surveying the global scene from Israel to Iraq and from New York to the Netherlands, Aslan argues that religion is a stronger force today than it has been in a century. At a time when religion and politics are increasingly sharing the same vocabulary and functioning in the same sphere, Aslan writes that we must strip the conflicts of our world, in particular, the War on Terror, of their religious connotations and address the earthly grievances that always lie behind the cosmic impulse. How do you win a cosmic war? By refusing to fight in one.

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What the Critics Say

"In this provocative and engaging book, Reza Aslan shows why he is one of America's leading analysts of the confusing and frightening forces that confront us. It is Aslan's great gift to see things clearly, and to say them clearly, and in this important new work he offers us a way forward. He is prescriptive and passionate, and his book will make you think." (Jon Meacham, author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good read but could have been better

This is the second book published by a young reform-minded Islamic scholar Reza Aslan, after his more serious, better articulated one "No god But God" (2006). His latest book seems to me hurriedly written at the request of the publisher who thought the author could say one thing or two on the issues of global terrorism committed in the name of God. I enjoyed the audiobook, but it could have been much better if it had been given more time for more in-depth reflection.
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- Sangho

Helpful approach to a difficult subject

Aslan's analysis and breakdown of the various sorts of Islamic movements was quite helpful. I liked it enough that I bought a hard copy so that I can quote it as needed. I am less certain that he has a solution of how to "win" the war, but his statement that refusing to engage in a Cosmic war is the only valid strategy is one that needs to be heard.
His ability to cite Christian scripture and make it sound ominous (a claim to be "washed in the blood" should not be understood as threatening) needs to be understood, I think, against the backdrop of people reading the Qur'an in equally ominous ways. If you focus on the global pronouncements, this book is simplistic. He does not have any simple solutions that are going to bring peace in the war on terror or in any other war. However, the book can be very helpful in sorting out a range of Muslim attitudes.
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- Rebecca

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-21-2009
  • Publisher: Random House Audio