In the last century, Arab peoples have frequently fared poorly under leaders chosen by or foisted upon them, including Egypt’s Nasser, Syria’s Assad, and Iraq’s Hussein. Among the most destructive of these was Haj Amin al-Husseini, who dominated Palestinian politics for several critical decades of the twentieth century. This account of the life and career of al-Husseini is interesting and disturbing but hardly balanced. If the authors’ goal is to show the venality of their subject and the tragic consequences for Palestinians, they succeed admirably. As Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, al-Husseini maintained his personal and family powers like a gangster. His nationalist aspirations manifested themselves in the form of rabid Jew baiting that went far beyond opposition to Zionism, and the authors conclusively show how he promoted the extermination of Jews while he resided in Hitler’s Germany. However, their effort to link al-Husseini to the rise of contemporary radical Islam is unconvincing. Still, this is a useful work that helps explain the sad legacy of Palestinian political life. --Jay Freeman
"Pritchard's reading is compelling and invites repeated listens." ---AudioFile
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