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The Cultural Roots of American Islamicism Hardcover – July 3, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (July 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521852935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521852937
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,914,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“The history of Americans perceptions of, and engagements with, the Islamic world is obviously of enormous interest today. One of the strengths of this book is that it pays attention to that of the diversity of those encounters, while not ignoring the fundamental relations of power between U.S. and Muslim populations. Marr's well researched, erudite, and thoroughly engaging book provides not only a study of American Islamicism, but also a broad-based and intellectually rich analysis of the United States and its global cultural imaginings in the 18th and 19th centuries. “
-Melani McAlister, George Washington University

"Marr's study opens up a new historical context to American mis-images of Islam spread over the last three centuries and their unacknowledged reverberations even today."
-Iftikhar Malik, Bath Spa University College, Bath, UK The Journal of American History

"This author's thoroughly researched and documented book is indispensable reading for anyone seriously interested in the genealogy of America's conflicted view of Islam."
-Anouar Majid, University of New England, The Historian

"I find this text thoroughly engrossing and informative. His style of writing history is engaging and the contextualization enables readers to be 'be in the moment' with the actors. This text can be read from many perspectives and is certainly academic but also a book for the informed."
Journal of World History, Aminah Beverly McCloud, DePaul University

Book Description

In this cultural history of Americans' engagement with Islam in the colonial and antebellum period, Timothy Marr analyzes the historical roots of how the Muslim world figured in American life. This history sits as an important background to help understand present conflicts between the Muslim world and the USA.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An interesting work in an arena of American history that is only now getting its due attention. A quick note about other reviewers discussing this book: Why would one bother reading anything at all, if you're mind's already so intransigently set on one way of viewing things. To those who would like to explore more deeply the contingencies of early American contact with the Muslim world, and how that contact shaped certain enduring epistemologies, this book isn't a bad place to start.
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3 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Opera Ghost on February 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
All you need to know to understand Islam -- regardless of anyone's perception of it -- is what the genocidal pedophile Muhammad preached and practiced, and what his followers have done in fits and starts -- as knowledge, zeal, and resources have allowed -- for the last nearly one and one-half millennia.

The fact that Muslims are characterizing what Marr reports as "mis-images" and "conflicted view[s]" of Islam must mean that Marr's work is more accurate than not.

If one wishes to understand Islam historically -- especially in relation to the United States -- then one need look only to John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and John Quincy Adams. The first Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson discovered from a Muslim ambassador himself that the reason for the Barbary wars against the new Republic was -- before we had done anything at all, and centuries before George W. Bush was born -- their "divine" mandate to war against unbelievers:

"'It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy's ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once.'"

John Quincy understood Islam well, describing it as a hellish and existential threat:

"In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar [i.e.
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