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Blue-Eyed Devil: A Road Odyssey Through Islamic America Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (May 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593762402
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593762407
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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See all 8 customer reviews
I enjoy books that take me into worlds that I know little about, and this one certainly did.
K. Frankel
Much of the book focuses on his interest in finding the true story of W.D. Fard, the founder of Nation of Islam.
missed
Knight has lived an interesting enough life that "Blue-Eyed Devil" defies easy categorization.
Lorenzo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. Frankel on December 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
Blue-Eyed Devil is a memoir that describes a series of road trips around the United States to places related to both the history and current practice of Islam in America. The traveler, Michael Muhammad Knight, is a white American punk rocker and professional wrestling fan, who converted to Islam as a teenager after listening to a lot of hip hop and watching Spike Lee's Malcolm X. Following his conversion he went to study in mosques in Pakistan. Several of the Asian American Muslims he encounters refer to him as Johnny Walker, after John Walker Lindh. However, Knight is far from a fundamentalist, and poignantly describes various challenges he faces regarding his faith, relationships, and life in general. The journeys in this book take place more than ten years after his conversion.

Knight's journeys take him to places ranging from the giant national ISNA conference in the Chicago convention center, to "building" with members of the Five Percent Nation (an off-shoot of the Nation of Islam that is very influential in hip hop) in Harlem and Brooklyn, and hanging out with Muslim hardcore bands in San Francisco that are into veganism and kung fu. I enjoy books that take me into worlds that I know little about, and this one certainly did. As a non-Muslim, I appreciated the glossary of Arabic terms at the back of the book, which I had to flip back to frequently. Plenty of background information is provided on historical figures he mentions, or whose graves he attempts to visit: The Honorable Elijah Mohammed, Noble Drew Ali, etc. In particular, he spends a lot of time on trying to track down the interesting and mysterious story of W.D. Fard, who is regarded as an avatar of Allah by the Nation of Islam.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ed kirby on January 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most of this is fun:--yet i cant help wondering WHY Knight embraced Islam in the first place. Not quite "On the Road" for young Muslims;--more like "derailed and trying to get back on track." (He should have romanced the "devi" chick.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By supastar on July 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's a point where MMK goes to a youth camp, the only non-South Asian there, and expresses surprise upon learning that there can be "half ass Muslims" just like half ass Catholics, and later comes to understand that the American Islam that interests him will never be muslim mom and muslim dad and muslim kids at the fourth of July but that he finds himself a part of that other Islam in America that has so often been marginalized as somehow unreal despite the dreadfully real experiences people have had, the Islam of the convert, the "radical" (which this book defines in so many ways) Islam of WD Fard, Hakim Bey, and Alexander Russell Webb.

The book is also funny, well written by a weird wrestler punk haunting college campuses for showers and trying to romance a girl in Alabama. It's not only a unique and the best book on "Islam in America" but it is, generally, about religious experience, a living with a changing faith, a search for community. It's stuck with me for months after reading it and will do so for a long time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lorenzo on July 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
Michael Muhammad Knight opens the book with an epigram: "The pure products of America go crazy." Knight has lived an interesting enough life that "Blue-Eyed Devil" defies easy categorization. The book alternates between honest, personal vignettes; ethnographies; road-trip memoir and offbeat history lessons effortlessly. Knight is a man trying to find what place a blue-eyed devil has in Islam, and how Islam fits in the American experience. To try to find some kind of answer, embarks on a road trip--an what could be more American than that? He travels 20,000 miles on a Greyhound bus, makes mischief at stuffy conventions, searches for the identity behind the Nation of Islam's mysterious WD Fard, and gets sued for his trouble.

The book is also hilarious, since Knight's anarchistic style undergirds his genuinely moving quest to understand his place in the world. "Blue-Eyed Devil" is totally unlike any other book you'll read, and quintessentially American.
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