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Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East 1st Edition

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195144215
ISBN-10: 019514421X
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Editorial Reviews

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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Review

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

"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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019514421X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195144215
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,175,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J. A Magill VINE VOICE on May 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
One of the West's foremost scholars of the Islamic world, Bernard Lewis's "Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East// collects a series of essays and speeches, many never before published. While all of the entries fit into the broad category reflected by the title, they cover a range of topics. Some familiar with Lewis's previous excellent works on the relationship between Europe and the Islamic world, may find a few repetitive. A few essays stand out as particularly insightful, such as one on historic gender roles in Ottoman and Arab culture and another on the sources of historical political legitimacy in the Islamic tradition. Another chapter on the relationship between religion and the potential for democracy in the Middle East also makes for thought provoking reading.

Of late there has been a great and continuing effort to pigeonhole Lewis, both by his academic rivals and those with a political axe to grind. What comes across clearly in these essays, however, is instead the work of a complex intellectual with an impressive command of facts, a nuanced analysis of the region and its history, and an abiding admiration for his subject.
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33 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Oivind on May 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I knew this book was a collection of articles. But when Lewis publishes these articles in a book, you would think that it wasn't basically the same article over and over again. With a few exceptions, you'd be wrong. The ideas in this book could be stated in 20 pages. Even the language is often the same, so it is obvious that Lewis has used copy and paste a lot. Nothing wrong with that since the articles have been written for different magazines/conferences etc., but when those same articles are published in a book, it becomes extremely repetitious. I've read several books by Bernard Lewis, and have enjoyed his books in the past, but this was a waste of money.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RKDR on June 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting review from a scholar. Lots of good information, but I liked his "Notes on the century" to be much more readable and enjoyable. This one sounds more like a scholarly paper. Repetative at times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ramon Palacios on May 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would advise everyone to read this epic book! I am grateful to have this book. Very important read for everyone.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As much as I enjoy reading Bernard Lewis' other publications, this one does contain some useful and interesting information but that useful information has been repeated many times. Each article deals with different topics but same old arguments one can find on Lewis' other books.
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