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The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's Threat to the West Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 10, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (July 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 046500203X
  • ASIN: B001G7R9NW
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,352,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lee Harris is the author of Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History and a frequent contributor to Policy Review, the Wall Street Journal’s “Opinion Journal,” and other publications, both print and online. He lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Overall, I found this to be a well-conceived and well written book.
town father
Nevertheless this is a good wake-up call for those who consistently underestimate the seriousness of this assault on western culture and values.
Isaiah Berlin
I recommend this book for any reader who wants a differing and challenging view of the "Long War" and radical Islam.
S. Jackman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 88 people found the following review helpful By J. Adams on July 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you have read Harris' Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History you have read the first installment of this book. But Harris has had a few more years to observe and think about the clash between Islam's followers and those whom they declare to be "infidels."
Harris examines fanaticism with a look through history that most in the West have no understanding of. His observations of the Crusades, Fascist Germany, Stalin's USSR and other such movements are fresh insights into their ability to find common ground with current Islamists' view of the righteousness of their cause. Harris is also able to show that the West's victory over fanaticism, based upon the Enlightenment, in many ways, have given most in the West a false sense of inevitability when it comes to a generally assumed myopia that Western notions of a civilized society will somehow prevail.
Harris is never "politically correct" but usually correct about politics including the polity of Islam and the West's arrogance in thinking that they can count on their world always being the victor without having to lift a finger to win.
While I don't necessarily agree with everything Harris says in this book, it is one that everyone should read.
Another great book.
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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Ernest A. Almazan on July 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lee Harris writes another thought-provoking treatise on the state of world affairs since 9/11. While his first book, Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History, discusses the problem of the enemy and the modern, liberal's propensity to forget the enemy's ruthless nature, The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's Threat to the West, offers a much more concrete and relevant explanation of the enemy facing the modern, liberal culture-bloc of the West.

Mr. Harris presents an audacious account of Western evasion (and unconscious complicity through multiculturalism) of the threat of Radical Islam's Fanaticism. In doing so, he satisfies many readers who are interested to know more of this particular threat, which he might have failed to accomplish with his first work. This satisfaction may be short-lived when one confronts the enmormity and scope of the challenge for the West as Mr. Harris provides a cogent scenario for the collapse of the Western world by Fanatical Islam.

By defining the battle-lines of Enlightened West and Fanatical Islam in the clash of cultures, Mr. Harris pulls together a masterful argument for drawing these distinctions by examining the history of Reason-based societies, the mystification of Reason, the cultural-preservationism of Fanatical Islam and jihad as a tool for spreading this culture. The result is a logical account of fanaticism and jihad to explain many current events: Al-Qaeda's spectacular acts of terror against Western countries, the "cartoon riots," and the events at the "Red Mosque" in Pakistan.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By ellen walker on August 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The book is extremely readable, of great interest to both the person who knows nothing about history, and to the real experts.
Mr. Harris does this by
1)leading the reader, step by step, through the events and thoughts that have shaped the west, and have a bearing on the situation of the US now. This is accessible to everybody, and convincing.
2)for the expert, Mr. Harris offers a unique view of all the events/thoughts as well as exploring a lot of "what ifs".
3) the language is clear and powerful.
I wish to respond to some of the reviewers who have said that they disagree with the writer on a lot of things. It seems to me that the aim of the book is to challenge everyone's ideas, or notions, about a great many things- to create a dialogue about the current situation.
I also wish to respond to reviewers who give the impression that this is about either fanaticism or Islam. To me, it is far more about the effective response by the West to fanaticism. Effectiveness, what works, is the point.
The US is in an environment which does not allow much room for error. Voters and policy makers have to do it right, and this book is a contribution to that. It also expresses points not aired in any press.
I also think that the book might have benefitted from a few footnotes and exploration of nuances in the current situation. At the same time, that would likely have detracted from the principle message, and made the book more cumbersome to read. As is, it works, and hooks the reader like the best thriller.
Thank you.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By prman on December 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Harris paints with a broad brush -- the two strains of humankind that populate the planet, viz., rational actors and tribal actors. It takes little insight as to who is who. In this view, political disputes between "rational" actors and tribal communities are subject to an ultimate Darwinianism of "might makes right," once reason can no longer settle serious differences. Harris cites numerous cases in the past to give credence to his point.

One area that he does not mention -- a point that should be raised -- is that the "tribal" violence that is always associated with Islam is endemic to its texts. According to any fair reading of the Qur'an, Allah is, among other qualities, a capricious and a hateful deity (to non-Muslims), or at least this is what Muhammad taught to his followers. For this reason, the bifurcation of all human society into Muslims and infidels is the fundamental source of most of the violence associated with Islam over the centuries, even to the present day. Of course, Harris considers this fanatacism of the worst sort, but a powerfully motivating force that continues to bind all Muslims together: Dar al Islam vs. Dar al Harb. There is no enlightenment for Islamic societies because their religious beliefs and political ideology discourage or even prohibit freethinking.

All Americans should consider Harris' views not only to evaluate the truths his analysis reveals, but also that we may better evaluate the probity and depth of understanding (or lack of) in our elected officials who are to make foreign policy that is to deal with these alien and hostile elements.

A thought-provoking and serious argument that is well worth reading.
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