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Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism: A Call to Action Hardcover – December 26, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Addressing Islamic terrorism and America's response as a global leader, Catholic commentator Weigel (senior fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, and author of Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II) argues that [t]he great human questions, including the great questions of public life, are ultimately theological. This short book, comprising 15 lessons in sections entitled Understanding the Enemy, Rethinking Realism and Deserving Victory, covers such topics as key strands of Islamic thought, the dangers of Western appeasement of terrorists and the case for regime change in Iran as well as the development of alternative transportation fuels and the elimination of nuclear weapons. Weigel asserts that jihadism arises not from poverty or the existence of the state of Israel but from Islamic fundamentalism's theological roots. He presents a cogent case that winning the war against terrorism means winning the war of ideas: America must overcome its self-contempt because cultural confidence, he insists, is key. Unsurprisingly, Weigel rejects so-called postmodernist relativism and uncritical multiculturalism; his idea of what constitutes realism—such as President Bush's post 9/11 foreign policy or the existence of objective moral truths—may not be shared by those with different political convictions, but this book contains thought-provoking analysis.
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“This brilliant little book is, quite simply, the best analysis of the role played by religion in what I call World War IV.”
—Norman Podhoretz

“Absolutely masterful: the moral principles, the strategy, and the tactics to win this war for the survival of the West and democracy are all here—coherent and persuasive. Osama bin Laden and Ahmadinejad will hate this little book above all others.”
—R. James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency

“A stirring book: the battle of ideas against Islamist radicalism is now fully joined. George Weigel—a brilliant author with deep knowledge of theology and practical politics—provides a way forward for the western democracies. A badly needed and urgent book.”
—Fouad Ajami, director of the Middle East Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University

“Provocative and exacting, George Weigel wants Americans to think more clearly about the way we live now, and in this unapologetically bracing book he lays out a stark vision of the challenges of our time as he sees them. Whether you agree with Weigel or not, you will want to hear him out, for his is a voice worth taking very seriously indeed.”
—Jon Meacham, author of American Gospel and Franklin and Winston

“Weigel has written one of the most important books since 9/11. It’s a bracing, challenging, and compelling account of the war we are in and which we have to win.”
—William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard

“George Weigel has produced a thoughtful manifesto that wisely calls for bipartisan unity against a foe that threatens all that we cherish.”
—Joe Lieberman, U.S.senator

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Image; 1 edition (December 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385523785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385523783
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,115,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

125 of 135 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Miller VINE VOICE on December 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I recently read Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism: A Call to Action by the Pope's biographer George Weigel which will go on sale on Dec 26 of this year. George Weigel is certainly in the camp of those who think the Iraq War is just, but this book is not about the defense of this. Just war theory is hardly brought up and the discussion on Iraq and is mainly focused on just how badly the administration messed up post-war planning, that is if they had any real planning to deal with the situation in the first place.

There is good reason that George Weigel throughout the book refers to the Pope's Regensburg address that caused so much controversy, but for the wrong reasons. The Pope's address is almost a blueprint for this book and Weigel's contention that Jihadism is primarily caused by bad theology due to false idea that God is not even bound to reason. The Pope's critique was also focused on the Western world where there has been a loss of faith in reason and the ability to know what is true resulting in a deep and blinding skepticism.

Reading this book really helped me to focus and think about the problems of global Jihadism and how best to respond to it. In the West the idea of Jihad terrorism is mainly seen as a problem due to root causes such as poverty and other environmental factors. It is easy to understand this worldview since it results from a worldview that already does not take theology seriously in the first place. They can't see that other might take theology (no matter how badly distorted) seriously.

George Weigel lays out many factors in the Islamic culture that leads to Jihadism in the first part of the book called "Understanding the enemy.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By PATRICK SWEENEY on January 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For people who have read Bernard Lewis, Victor Davis Hanson, and Robert Spencer, they might ask what does George Weigel have to say that hasn't already been said? The answer is "a great deal". This is a book that is helpful in identifying what parts of the conventional wisdom are wrong and why. It is logically organized into "lessons" (1) The great human questions, include the great questions of public life are ultimately theological. (These lessons are not assumed but explained and carefully argued). (10) In the war against global jihadism, deterrence strategies are unlikely to be effective, because is almost impossible to deter those who are committed to their own martyrdom. (14) Victory in the war against global jihadism requires a new domestic political coalition that is proof against the confusions caused by the Unhinged Left and the Unhinged Right. It is up to the United States to defend the West, and every American voter should be educated by this book and how it can be done.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Ian R. Colle on January 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book should be required reading for all of the presidential candidates. In this short book, able to be completed in one sitting if you're diligent, Weigel accurately describes the roots of the present war against jihadism. During this crucial election year, this book helps to frame the issue that should be at the core of the decision-making process for all voters. Buy this book, give it away to your friends and request that your local library buys a copy. I can not overstate the importance of this little book.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Faucon on January 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
George Weigel sees a problem with the War on Terror as we are currently conducting it. Too many people in the United States and Europe (especially the leaders) fail to understand the true motives and ideas that drive the jihadists and this leads us to make tactical mistakes. George Weigel has written this book in an attempt to help us understand what the War on Terror is really all about and how we can win it.

There are fifteen chapters in the book with each one dedicated to a single lesson that the West must learn if we are to successfully defeat the jihadists. These fifteen chapters are divided into three parts: Understanding the Enemy, Rethinking Realism, and Deserving Victory. Weigel's prose in clear as usual and in each chapter the reader is treated to a thoughtful blend of philosophy, political theory, and politics. There are a handful of problems with the book (e.g. his creation of the "unhinged right" seems like an artificial and weak construction thrown in just to provide political balance to his "unhinged left") but overall the book is a useful guide to understanding the struggle America must face if we are to prevail in the War on Terror.

Everyone in America who is unsure about the nature and desires of our enemies should read this book.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Harry W. Parker on February 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Real Battleground with Jihadism

George Weigel correctly locates our civilization's real battle with Jihadism's attempting to destroy our nation and other nations. The battleground is in our contrasting theological concepts and the resulting actions and emotions. Jihadists view God as being remote and requiring total submission, versus Christians' view of God as our loving heavenly Father who sent his Son. These contrasting views are contained in the history and the documents of the two faiths, the Qur'an (Koran) for Islam considered to be dictated directly, word by word to one person in about 600 AD in Arabic and so not to be translated, whereas the Bible had many writers over many years, who are believed by ecclesiastical consensus to have been directly inspired by God, but who actually used the words and language of the writers' own particular historic period to document that inspiration for all.

The many confrontations with Jihadism are best understood in the context of this deep, long-term theological battle noted above. Even secular leaders and individual atheists should accept and utilize the reality of this real theological battle in their understanding and actions to be effective. Defense against the Jihadists avowed intention of eliminating non-Moslems and their culture can not be achieved by way of our military power and economic resources, as continually demonstrated by recent events. The reason for this impasse is because the battle between Jihadists and the rest of the world is asymmetric, and as per Weigel observation really theological.
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