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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (40 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bernard Lewis Narrator: Bernard Lewis Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Modern Library Chronicles Release Date: March 2003 ISBN: 9780739302200
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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 Osama bin Ladin represents and why his murderous message resonates so widely in the Islamic world.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Terrorism requires only a few. Obviously the West must defend itself by whatever means will be effective. But in devising means to fight the terrorists, it would surely be useful to understand the forces that drive them. from the Introduction
  • Remarkably succinct . . . It 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
  • Inestimable . . . replete with the exceptional historical insight that one has come to expect from the world’s foremost Islamic scholar. The Wall Street Journal
  • A timely and provocative contribution to the current raging debate about the tensions between the West and the Islamic world. BusinessWeek
  • No scholar of Islam in the Western world has more thoroughly earned the respect of generalists and academics alike than Bernard Lewis. . . . An excitingly knowledgeable antidote to today’s natural sense of befuddlement. . . . History with electric immediacy. Baltimore Sun

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Emma | 2/13/2014

    " This is very bad journalism. Stacked with miss-quotes, and downright lies. Pure fear mongering. Book like this appeared ib the 1930's in Hitler's time. The author should be called to account. This is not just an opinion its propaganda. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan | 1/29/2014

    " A brief history of Islam and what it means to the West. Sometimes a little tedious to read, but the information is worth wading through the muck. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jody Mena | 1/25/2014

    " I had to read this for World History in college. I'm glad they made me, I don't usually take to nonfiction, but this was a really good book, very informative, and I enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dennis Wilson | 1/19/2014

    " This guy is billed as a conservative, but he seems to have a solid knowledge of Islam and the Middle East. This book is short, easy to read, and a good introduction to the thoughts and actions that have brought us to the present situation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bella | 1/18/2014

    " A great, objective, and succinct review of the history of the relationship and attitudes between the Arab world and the West, the US in particular. Good history to know. Thought-provoking. Easy-to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 1/16/2014

    " So much I did not know or understand. I can't say that I now really understand the conflicts and terror, but at least I took the time to try to learn. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tamar | 1/10/2014

    " This is a great and informative book, short but to the point. Lewis has an in depth knowledge about the religion and the issues it currently faces. For anyone who is looking to learn more about islam as well as islamic extremists and terrorists, this book is a must read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 1/5/2014

    " ... a short, informative read about Islam and its role throughout recent history and its effects today. It would behoove most Americans to read some historic account of Islam, given the lack of context from the news and likewise. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Loretta | 1/5/2014

    " This is an excellent, informative little book on a complex subject that most of us are not very informed about, despite its constant presence in the news. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to better understand their world and the forces that drive it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mikey | 12/31/2013

    " Insightful at times, but more or less a "No duh" for the educated. Still I think there are plenty out there that could do themselves good by reading this. Especially Europeans. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ali Sarikaya | 12/24/2013

    " Edward Said has been right "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Caplan | 12/19/2013

    " A highly accessible primer to Islam and its factions in conflict with the West. Lewis, a British-American historian, writes with a sympathetic, yet critical, Western lens on this subject. A good first read for anyone trying to understand this complicated subject. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Geo Forman | 12/18/2013

    " a packed, short read. very informative and enlightening. eager to read one of his other books "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom Keenan | 12/15/2013

    " Gives good insight into the Muslim culture and how it relates/does not relate to terrorism. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 12/10/2013

    " If you want to understand the Islamic mindset and especially that view on history and it's effects on today - read this book. Outstanding. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Breck | 12/9/2013

    " simple overview of the history of islam, what they believe, and the motivation behind radical jihad. interesting to learn that at one time the islamic empire was strong and thriving and has since been the victim of poverty in an industrialized western world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donni | 9/19/2013

    " I love almost everything by Bernard Lewis. He is my go to for all things from a western understanding of the Arab mind. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 5/26/2013

    " very short and concise book that gives you the basic background of Islam and what the fundamentalist Muslims are all about. Easy to read once you get through the first chapter. surprisingly enjoyed this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dmcconkey | 2/25/2013

    " Great read, Lewis packs a lot in this little book (140 p). He gives background history of Islam and the Middle East. He then brings the situation up to present day events and application. A must read to get the pulse of current day events in the Middle East & Islam. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mellow-osity | 1/17/2013

    " This is a nice brief overview on the history of Islam and Muslim peoples. It's a really nice eye opener for people who have only learned of Islam and the people of Islam through the media. Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joy | 7/10/2012

    " Princton University professor's succinct incite on the "holy war and unholy terror"; every American should read "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adam | 6/19/2012

    " Insightful for infidels like me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Polly Callahan | 5/30/2012

    " tough read, but well worth it "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Natan | 5/20/2012

    " 4.5 stars, if I could. In a very British, understated way, Lewis makes many important observations about today's world, after discussing issues he deems relevant regarding Arab and Muslim history and religion. I would recommend it to anybody interested in today's international political scene. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erik Graff | 5/17/2012

    " I read this as part of an ongoing effort to better understand the controversial events of 9/11/01 and the response of the government of the U.S.A. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dahlia | 2/18/2012

    " Fair, unbiased analysis of what truly went wrong. A good read that requires more follow-up of middle eastern history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan Robin | 1/12/2012

    " I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who seeks to learn about the problems and culture of the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, the US. Bernard Lewis is a reknowned authority on the subject! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mohammed | 9/20/2011

    " Everyone should read this book, especially Americans... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill | 9/3/2011

    " Outstanding. A fast read, and a great synopsis of why fundamentalist Islam is diametrically opposed to western culture (not just the United States). A must-read for anyone attempting to understand the current state of international relations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Polly | 6/22/2011

    " tough read, but well worth it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ploni | 5/16/2011

    " A stark look into the entire history of clashes between East and West regarding Islam. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 2/11/2011

    " A short, informative read about Islam and its role throughout recent history and its effects today. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Emma | 2/3/2011

    " This is very bad journalism. Stacked with miss-quotes, and downright lies. Pure fear mongering. Book like this appeared ib the 1930's in Hitler's time. The author should be called to account. This is not just an opinion its propaganda.



    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 2/1/2011

    " I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who seeks to learn about the problems and culture of the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, the US. Bernard Lewis is a reknowned authority on the subject! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 1/10/2011

    " Well Worth the Quick Read
    Lewis offers a concise and fascinating analysis of the Islamic fundamentalist movement and its relationship to the United States. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tamee | 10/28/2010

    " great perspectives on the current crisis "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erik | 10/8/2010

    " I read this as part of an ongoing effort to better understand the controversial events of 9/11/01 and the response of the United States government. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jrohde | 8/11/2010

    " Lewis is arguably the best US expert on Islam. this is an easy read and should be reassuring to those who knee-jerk fear Muslims. this is a good book that puts it all in perspective. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 8/1/2010

    " Hmmm, need to study hist of Islam a little more to better grasp this "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 7/10/2010

    " Except for a bit of history on the origins of Islam there wasn't much that was new to me. Lewis emphasizes the basis in mainstream Islam for the duty of Muslims to get rid of infidels by any means. There is only one God; their God and all other beliefs are false. A disturbing thought, for sure. "

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About the Author
Author Bernard LewisBernard Lewis is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus at Princeton University and the author of The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; The Emergence of Modern Turkey; The Arabs in History; and What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response, among other books. Lewis is internationally recognized as one of our era’s greatest historians of the Middle East. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages, including Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Indonesian. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.