From Publishers Weekly
Bulliet, a history professor at Columbia University and a former director of the Middle East Institute, offers a short, insightful book about Islam and Muslims that actually provides hope for the future. The book consists of four essays arguing that Islam and Christianity have tremendous common roots and history—as much as, or more than, Christianity and Judaism. Bulliet also contends that Western Christian policymakers and commentators, when encountering Islam, have reacted with knee-jerk Islamophobia and generalizations rather than thoughtfulness. Bulliet envisions a future, 20 years off at least, where Islamic countries will have active democracies. He also debunks the popular view that Islam has an inherent separation of church and state problem; Christians have had similar issues in the past, as he shows with the Church of England and other examples. Bulliet's optimism—which is backed up by solid arguments—is alluring, particularly where his counterparts can offer only gloom-and-doom scenarios. Bulliet's most brilliant insight, which comes in the last chapter, is the recognition that those Islamic movements on the fringe eventually become the center of Islam. The new leaders of Islam—probably those on the edge now, who have shown more diverse, tolerant attitudes—have not yet been heard from, he says. Although portions are written densely, this book is a quick, informative, and encouraging read.
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Richard Bulliet's The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization re-examines most of the pieties of the West about the Muslim world and Islamic politics (and about the West itself) and finds them not only wrong but wrongly conceived.... He argues that modern European and Muslim history are deeply intertwined and that one cannot be understood in isolation from the other, thereby launching a profound challenge to teachers, historians and policy-makers.
(Juan Cole, University of Michigan The International Journal of Middle East Studies
[An] insightful book about Islam and Muslims that actually provides hope for the future.... this book is a quick, informative, and encouraging read.
A clearly written book, aimed at the general reader...requires a place on the library shelf
(Steve Young Library Journal
Presents a persuasive case for viewing Islam and the West... [a]brilliant new book
(Emran Qureshi Toronto Globe and Mail
Seeks to bridge a gap between Islam and the West... His solution is to try to patch things up by emphasizing all that Islam and Christianity have in common.
(Daniel Lazare The Nation
As Bulliet writes... there is a far better case for 'Islamo-Christian civilization' than there is for a clash of civilizations.
Offers a rich lode of penetrating insights.
(L. Carl Brown Foreign Affairs
A positive and challenging proposal, underscoring the importance of the phases we use in defining our world.
Obviously, this is an important book with the important proposal to familiarize everyone with the term "Islam-Christian civilization". Let us take heed.
(Murad Wilfried Hofmann The Muslim World Book Review
It deserves the widest possible readership, addressing as it does with wit and insight one of the most freighted issues of our times.
(Malise Ruthven Times Literary Supplement
Bulliet's ideas are collectively imaginative and a major contribution... No reader will see the history either of Christendom or Islam in quite the same way.
(Ronald Davis Domes
Great scholarship and vision... Bulliet offers rare insights in the Islamic and the (post)-Christian worlds.
(Johannes J. G. Jansen International History Review
An excellent touchstone... this is not a volume that should be ignored.
(John J. Curry, Ph.D. Digest of Middle East Studies
[A] wise and wonderful book.
(Howard J. Dooley Journal of World History
[These essays] emanate from a fair-minded approach to strident debates - written, if you will, from the center.
(International Journal of Middle East Studies