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Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom Paperback – May 4, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bawer (While Europe Slept) argues that, in the name of tolerance and multiculturalism, critics of radical Islam are being silenced by left-leaning academics, politicians and journalists. He argues that self-censorship has become widespread in the Western press, referring to outcry following the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten's 2005 publication of cartoon depictions of the prophet Muhammad, when many international news outlets debated whether the paper had the right to print them in the first place—an attack on freedom of the press coming from within its own ranks. While Bawer does an admirable job of rooting out hypocritical statements made by pundits and politicians, readers might wince at his pronounced anti-Muslim bias—he claims that Muslim immigrants to the West are in a war to snuff out free speech and equal rights. Bawer's thought-provoking arguments are overshadowed by his shrill condemnations and a cranky attack on those who paint him as a polarizing figure. The book would have been helped had the author remembered his own statement, made early in the book: Free speech doesn't mean immunity from criticism. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Narrowing his scope from While Europe Slept (2005) but retaining its theme of radical Islamic assault on Western civil liberties, Bawer files a hefty brief of case reports on Muslim campaigns against free speech, primarily in western Europe but also in Canada and the U.S. Official infatuation with political correctness (PC), the determination that no one ever be offended, and multiculturalism, the dogma that all cultural perspectives are equally and universally valid, undergird what Bawer believes amounts to a surrender of Western liberal traditions. What may seal the fate of free speech, he argues, are the apparent inabilities of Western ruling elites to be offended by Muslims rioting, threatening by fatwa, and murdering non-Muslims (Bawer fully presents instances of all three, many of them known, though insufficiently, by Americans) and to assert the priority of Western liberal values in the West. Since he continues to write about free-speech clashes, Norwegian resident Bawer says, he increasingly risks charges of violating Muslims’ legal right not to be criticized in more and more European countries. Moreover, because he is gay, and because radical Islam prescribes death for homosexuality, as sharia law becomes the law in Muslim-majority areas—a development well underway—his life is in burgeoning jeopardy, too. Sublimely literate and rational, Bawer is no crank, however angry he gets. This, like its immediate predecessor, is an immensely important and urgent book. --Ray Olson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767928377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767928373
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #812,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bruce Bawer is a highly respected author, critic, essayist and translator. He is the author of several collections of literary and film criticism and a collection of poetry. His political journalism is widely published in print and online journals and he reviews books regularly for the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, and Wall Street Journal. Visit his website at He lives in Oslo with his partner.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAME on August 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The USA has experienced 9/11 and Europe too has had its share of terrorism. Bawer goes back to the Salman Rushdie affair that erupted in 1989 to demonstrate how the West's capitulation began in our era. For the bigger picture he goes back even further, to a time when armies of desert tribes bearing a new religion burst out of the Arabian Peninsula to conquer the civilized world as far as Central Asia and Spain during its first expansion. Later waves led to the conquest of Hindustan, deep penetration into northern, western and eastern Africa and finally the subjugation of the Balkans.

The majority of the conquered peoples were converted by force or policies of oppression and discrimination (dhimmitude) except in the cases of Spain, India and the Balkans where the indigenous faiths stood their ground, eventually reasserting themselves through counterconquest or independence. In Africa, Christian Ethiopia was protected by geography and fierce defenders. Bawer shows how the crusades were a reaction to Islamic incursions and covers the USA's first ever overseas war, the one with the Barbary pirates in the early 1800s. Today, the target is the West's civil liberties of which free speech tops the list.

It's now clear that the Salman Rushdie affair exposed the cowardice of western leaders and intellectuals, introducing an era of intimidation aimed at undermining our basic freedoms. The triumph of multiculturalism & political correctness and the decline of Christianity in Europe handed the Islamists a 5th column, a weapon and a vacuum to fill.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By David M. Dougherty VINE VOICE on August 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Author Bawer has done yeoman work in exposing the curtailment of free speech in the West and notably in the US in order not to offend Muslims. Sometimes this is as a result of overt threats by Muslims, sometimes it occurs due to self-censorship to ward off such threats and criticism. In any case it is cowardly, and ultimately self-defeating.

This work is replete with examples of such instances from beginning to end, but in spite of the author's courage in writing this book, I note that the publisher saw fit to omit the cartoons that brought the most direct threats from the Muslim world. It seems like self-censorship is alive and well. Frankly I have seen much worse anti-Christian "works of art" in the US, but these were allowed to be publically displayed. I guess Christians aren't willing to murder people over such issues.

Not only is the entire theme timely and important, but so are several side points. The author mentions "dhimmitude" -- a concept that should be loudly proclaimed on our Government-controlled media (NBC and its various outlets and affiliates) and taught in our schools until every American understands what it means. Non-Muslims are not merely 2nd class citizens in Muslim countries under Sharia law; they pay an tax for the privilege of not being a Muslim, cannot fight a Muslim, and their oaths are not valid. Frankly their status is much lower than that of blacks in the US during the Jim Crow years. One must remember that the Qur'an definitely states that non-Muslims must be subordinate to Muslims and are not equal to Muslims in any sense. So much for "All men are created equal." In addition, we in the US should also know that the Turkish word for non-Muslims is the same as "cattle.
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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Frederick Litwin on May 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Bruce Bawer has written a tour de force. I suggest that everybody buy this book immediately - in fact, buy 2 copies and give one to a friend. I am about two-thirds of the way through his book, and I can't put it down. Most of the stories in here are familiar - the cartoons, Pym Fortuyn, Van Gogh - but Bawer weaves them all together into a narrative that will have you angry as hell.

Well-written, well-researched, "Surrender" is a must-read. Put down what you are reading now, and buy this book.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By J. Davis on July 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
To say that a book is a must reading is an overused cliche. In this case, though, it is absolutely true. Bawer takes no prisoners in this devastating polemic. Every advocate of political correctness, from The New York Times to the Dixie Chicks, is put in their place. Bawer makes the convincing case that the cravenness of Western politicians is destroying European civilization. One point no other reviewer has (yet) made: Bawer's homosexuality allows him to get away with ripping the gay rights movement. He shows they have turned a blind eye to Muslim anti-gay terrorism. A terrific book.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful By CT on May 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If we think the threat to freedom of speech is only by the so-called "Fairness Doctrine", campaigned by the modern liberals, then we are kidding ourselves. Another front that is in direct confrontation with freedom of speech is radical Islam. Bawer made a compelling case in this book that radical Muslims are using riots, fatwa, and even murders to bullying and silencing the West from making any statement critical of Islam. Bawer also revealed that by surrendering to their bullying tactics, the West is in essence surrendering the freedom of speech and thus sacrificing the freedom as we know it. Alas, liberal politicians are doing exactly that by foolishly perpetuating political correctness and multiculturalism, and thus as Bawer titled in his book "Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom." This is a crucial read for all who cherish the freedom of speech and freedom itself. For if we know not our threats, how else would we know what is at stake?
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