From Publishers Weekly
Well-known Middle East historian and analyst Lewis collects essays and speeches in his latest book, rather incoherently organized around the titular theme of faith and power. Since the text lacks footnotes, the reader may wonder if Lewis is presenting historical fact or his own opinions, weighted toward a dark view of Islam, which could explain his appeal to neoconservatives. His assertions, for instance, that early Muslims had no respect for or understanding of Christianity and that Muhammad conquered Mecca run contrary to what many other scholars, as well as practicing Muslims, write and believe. His understanding of the Qur'an is shallow; he criticizes the Muslim term khalifa, meaning caliph or leader, as showing Muslim ambition because of the term's vagueness, but the Qur'an specifically cites the term khalifa in a well-known verse enjoining Muslims to be the vice-regents or khalifas of God on Earth. In his chapter analyzing Osama bin Ladin's fatwa against the United States, he fails to mention that fatwas are not binding on Muslims, misleading the reader into believing that Muslims, on the whole, abide by them. His obstinately Eurocentric view has him criticizing Muslims for all manner of far-flung vices, such as failing to learn European languages and music. Readers looking to learn more about Islam and the Middle East should seek a less rigid text. (May)
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Acclaim for What Went Wrong? A New York Times Bestseller: "Replete with the exceptional historical insight that one has come to expect from the world's foremost Islamic scholar." --Karen Elliott House, Wall Street Journal
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"Lewis has done us all - Muslim and non-Muslim alike - a remarkable service.... The book's great strength, and its claim upon our attention, [is that] it offers a long view in the midst of so much short-term and confusing punditry on television, in the op-ed pages, on campuses and in strategic studies think tanks." --Paul Kennedy, The New York Times Book Review
Acclaim for From Babel to Dragomans: "Lewis has long been considered the West's leading interpreter of Mideast culture and history, and this collection only solidifies his reputation." --National Review
"For more than four decades, Lewis has been one of the most respected scholars and prolific writers on the history and politics of the Middle East. In this compilation of more than 50 journal articles and essays, he displays the full range of his eloquence, knowledge, and insight regarding this pivotal and volatile region." --Booklist