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Lessons from the Holy Wars: A Pakistani-American Odyssey Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Wheatmark (January 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604943696
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604943696
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,426,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Rob Asghar, a Fellow at the University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy, has been published in more than 30 news outlets around the world, including the Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal and Japan Times.

Asghar learned his lessons the hard way. He experienced conservative Muslim guilt by drinking and watching Three's Company. He experienced conservative Christian guilt by giving less than 10% of his income to his church and continuing to watch Three's Company. He attempted to flee Pakistan as a child due to the smell. He remains bitter about losing a rigged class election to the snobby daughter of Pakistani nuclear mastermind AQ Khan. He overspends as a foolish, ongoing rebellion against his immigrant parents' prudent, Shake-n-Bake-eating ways. He survived historic anti-American attacks during his years in Pakistan. His late father called him "the second-worst man alive" for drifting from Islam, and angry evangelicals called him a closet jihadist for later drifting from them. He spent a lifetime attempting to please others and to make peace among people and cultures -- only to find that happiness comes from letting people down and allowing them to scuffle, within good reason!

A few political & personal lessons from the holy wars:
* US foreign policy has been warped by American evangelicals' misunderstandings of their own New Testament teachings.
* Religion doesn't kill people: Culture & Mother Nature kill people.
* To succeed in life, you gotta learn to be a disappointment.
* It's not about Af-Pak, it's about In-Pak--Pakistan's relationship with India is what should matter to Washington.
* Want peace? You need to master the art of "managing devils."

From the Author

"A book that makes you laugh and think at the same time."
-- Dan Cray, contributor, TIME magazine

"Asghar's immigrant family story is illuminating and encouraging - a hopeful sign that as each of us moves along our respective voyages of self-discovery and self-expression, even the most seemingly painful conflicts of identity and security can be overcome."
-- From the foreword by Warren Bennis, bestselling leadership author

"Drawing from his unique background, Asghar frames pressing issues through both personal and scholarly lenses--and in doing so, he has emerged as a unique and profound voice among commentators on South Asia and the Muslim world."
-- Varun Soni, dean of religious life, University of Southern California


More About the Author

Rob Asghar is a Pakistani American political writer whose essays and commentaries have appeared in more than 30 newspapers around the world, including The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Jordan Times and Japan Times. Asghar has also been a columnist for Creators Syndicate and is currently a regular blogger for the Huffington Post and the Los Angeles Daily News. He is a fellow at the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California and a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
I greatly enjoyed Mr. Asghar's book!
Daniel P. Good
And don't let the fact that is a fast and often surprisingly funny book hide the depth that is in these pages.
Tim Chambers
A great book that entertained while at the same time generating some deep inner reflection.
Alan S. Greene

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Corcoran on January 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
Rob Asghar has been informing and entertaining me through his writing for years. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of the relationship between the West and Islam from someone who has both a personal and intellectual perspective.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cameron on December 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
Smart, entertaining, and very relatable -- simply, a really captivating debut piece by author Asghar. A great read for those following what's happening in Pakistan or those studying Muslim American culture, but also a great read for those just learning about it all or even completely unfamiliar with any of it. Definitely a must-read story relatable to every American immigrant.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Daniel P. Good on February 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
I greatly enjoyed Mr. Asghar's book! His unique perspective and gift for (very funny) storytelling make for a highly entertaining and highly informative read. The autobiographical Part I gives a great introduction to the essays that make up Part II; knowing Mr. Asghar's personal journey as a child criss-crossing the middle east and the west with his family illuminates his reflections on events of our post 9/11 world and the suspicions and misunderstandings that continue to exist between the west and the Islamic world. Highly Recommended!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tim Chambers on January 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading "Holy Wars" is like listening to a good friend telling hard-won truths in a household weighted down with family secrets. Certain to touch nerves in both the Islamic and Christian "families," and certain to illuminate the place where those two families cross paths. It's fearless, and honest, and cutting...but the cuts are those of a friend. Someone looking to expose and begin to address the common wounds of both evangelical Christian and Muslim communities.

This is a book of crucial and key questions to the West and to the East -- many of them long overdue being asked in public. Folks from both sides of the "clash of civilizations" would do well to let this books questions sink in.

And don't let the fact that is a fast and often surprisingly funny book hide the depth that is in these pages.
Highly recommend this insightful, moving, funny and rare book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. Putnam on December 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've been a regular reader of Rob Asghar's essays in The Huffington Post and the Los Angeles Daily News, and his new book offers the same insightful and engaging look at today's convoluted world through the lens of his own personal experience as a Pakistani-American. Asghar both entertains you with some home truths of family life and expands your perspective on a country that is little-understood by Americans, and yet plays a major role in U.S. foreign policy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gregory King on January 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written with revealing and sometimes brutal honesty, usually at the author's expense. This is not a political essay as the title might suggest. But rather this is a book where Ashgar reveals his innermost secrets and personal experiences as the son of a Muslim family living in Christian America. Struggling to find a personal identity Ashgar converts to Christianity, a decision that results in struggles with his family and ultimately his own theological skepticism. Always fascinating and thoroughly funny, this is a great read, written with sincere flair.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By PCH on March 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
In Lessons from the Holy Wars, Asghar tackles the complex issues regarding Muslim and Western communities from a unique perspective. His first hand experience growing up as a Pakistani-American as well as a Christian convert at one point in his life, gives the reader insight into the points in which these communities meet and its impact on the average family's daily life. Asghar's personal accounts hits on multiple levels. One can identify with the humorous accounts of parent-child dynamics that can be found in any household across America. It adds another layer of the difficulties of navigating through the bi-cultural world of ethnic families in America. Yet another layer addresses the issues of being Pakistani in a post-911 world.

Through all these layers, Asghar is able to dissect the complex issues and make it relevant on a personal level to his readers.
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