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If you are interested in the background of the conflicts between Islam and other religions, particularly between Christians and Muslims, this is a great primer. While I preferred the book Tea With Hezbollah for readability/listenability, The Tenth Parallel covered more history and geography and was a much more comprehensive treatment. Tea With Hezbollah was more personal and gave one more incite into the personalities and nature of many of the major characters in today’s Middle East.
It is astonishing that in both books, the authors had access into some of the most dangerous places on the planet and lived to write about it. Though many begin with religious proselytizing, like so many other conflicts around the world, these conflicts are not solely about religion. One has to wonder though if the majority of these conflicts are not rooted in, inspired and perpetuated by religion. Listening to the historical context and appreciating the consistency of our own human nature throughout the ages, one also has to wonder if there is any hope for our species in ever resolving anything and living together peacefully.
While I give the book high marks, technically, I thought the book seemed a bit disjointed and lacked cohesion. It seemed to be hastily crafted as though the author was in a hurry to get it to press. I was also not thrilled with the reader. Her delivery, particularly in the beginning, was so rapid fire, it was like she too could not wait to finish the book. The high marks represent my regard for what I feel is the scholarliness, comprehensiveness and amount of work that went into gathering and relating the basic content. Unless one is very well-grounded in world history along the tenth parallel, it would seem difficult to digest the majority of what is contained in this book upon only one reading.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Eliza Griswold is the daughter of a Bishop and has come away from that childhood with a rather agnostic approach to faith. An interesting journalist and observer of the human condition, she deals with what she calls “the fault line” between Christianity and Islam using a geographic framework. In her “The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line between Christianity and Islam,” she sends anecdotal insights into what is going on where the two faiths intersect at the tenth parallel. I found the book intensely interesting, human, witty, detailed, informative, disturbing, insightful, and informative. Before you choose to read this book, let me tell you what it is. First, it is a series of “dispatches” or transmissions from the “front” and, therefore, does not contain a lot of analysis or solutions. It is simply very informative and places the issues in context geographically and theologically. Second, readers may believe that she comes with a particularly, Christian or Islamic point of view. That did not seem to be the case for me. Indeed, she seems to be somewhat sceptical of faith as exhibited by the players in her stories. The reader will, of course, make a personal judgment. The book is worth your time.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful