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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Eliza Griswold demonstrates an unparalleled expertise in issues of religion and politics. This book is a must for anyone who wants to go beyond the dominant rhetoric of religious extremism to understand the intricate political issues at stake in the local conflicts of the regions she examines. Griswold shows the personal human costs of regional power structures.
Published on August 22, 2010 by Eileen Ryan

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34 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Best for its narrative reporting
Written by an agnostic daughter of a liberal Episcopalian bishop this is an exploration of the gulf separating Christianity and Islam, the only two religions that are both monotheistic and triumphal. Griswold's account is weak in European historical background, the very background of Christian Western Civilization that allows the author her extraordinary privileges...
Published on October 4, 2010 by William H. Thoms Jr.


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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, August 22, 2010
Eliza Griswold demonstrates an unparalleled expertise in issues of religion and politics. This book is a must for anyone who wants to go beyond the dominant rhetoric of religious extremism to understand the intricate political issues at stake in the local conflicts of the regions she examines. Griswold shows the personal human costs of regional power structures.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL, August 21, 2010
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I had to stop reading The Tenth Parallel before bed because I couldn't put it down and was staying up all night reading. The stories Giswold relates are so powerful you have to finish each chapter once you start. Unlike so many book like this she does not rely on easy answers or come to confident conclusions but lets the reader sit in the uncomfortable accounts.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On-site Clash of Civilizations, November 11, 2010
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This is an on-site rendition of the `Clash of Civilizations'. Ms Griswold goes boldly to outposts in Africa and Asia to meet radical (and rabid) Christians and Muslims. By radical I mean people who may kill because of words written in their so-called sacred texts.

But the book goes beyond that, as Ms Griswold explores the why and the localities of these conflicts. She puts a historical and geographical context in her interviews. There are different manifestations of these `radicals' - some, like in Nigeria, seem to have exhausted hate and rhetoric and hopefully the truce established will not expire. What is also apparent with these religious extremists is their intolerance of liberal religious views in the West. Religions in the Western world receptive to Gays, pro-choice, woman's rights, general openness to sexuality ... are an apostasy to fundamentalist Christians and Muslims in the tenth parallel. There is another religion in the areas discussed by Ms. Griswold where there are no shades of grey. Sometimes we have a view of this in the U.S. when abortion clinics are bombed. But I don't know how the `born-again' evangelicals in the U.S. would fit in or adapt to Africa or Asia. As the writer points out, religion in these countries is a way of life because there is no government infrastructure that they can rely on for social and economic support.

There is among both Muslims and Christians in Africa and Asia a strong tendency to revert and restore a view of the way religion was several centuries ago - a literal view of the Quran or the Bible. So this is another clash with modernity. It is difficult to see a resolution of this religious conflict with modernity. It did seem that Muslims in Malaysia were successful at this.

This book does have more of a focus on Christianity and Ms. Griswold (in my opinion) is more comfortable in that milieu, but there are several excellent encounters with Muslim fundamentalists, particularly in Somalia and Asia. Ms. Griswold is a keen observer and is able to provide several perspectives when she is conducting an interview.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written eye-opener, December 10, 2010
By 
Jaylia3 (Silver Spring, MD United States) - See all my reviews
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Both insightful and intrepid, Eliza Griswold journeyed through Africa and Asia along the tenth parallel, the line of latitude 700 miles north of the equator where nearly 25% of the world's Muslims and Christians compete for resources, converts and political power. A poet with an ear for simple but evocative language, Griswold takes the reader through the dust of encroaching desertification as she attends an indigenous Indonesian wedding, meets with African rape victims, sits with a Muslim religious leader as he tries to resolve local disputes, and observes an election where voters line up in a barren field behind the candidate of their choice. After reading about her meetings with the homosexual and Muslim denouncing Anglican Bishop Akinola of Nigeria I still have no sympathy with his views, but I now have some understanding of why he thinks the way he does. Griswold's own empathy serves her well; believers on both sides of the religious divide open up to her. As an agnostic daughter of the former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Griswold even shares a flash of private connection with crusading evangelist Franklin Graham when she meets him in Africa--though they have very different ideas they are both PKs, preacher's kids, with childhoods that were a struggle between belief and rebellion. My copy of THE TENTH PARALLEL is tabbed with more than 30 post-it notes marking sections I thought were so perceptive and illuminating I knew I'd want to read them again.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Illuminating, September 13, 2010
By 
Robert C. (Edinboro, Pa. USA) - See all my reviews
As a secular American I was only dimly aware, from mainstream media coverage, of how extensive the war is between evangelical Christian sects and Islamic settlements, nor how diverse Islam really is. This book is very informative and a real eye - opener.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go and see, read and see, August 22, 2010
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This book is very intresting if you are intrested in where we are living, and how: what is happening far away from us, far away from television, far away from our stereotypes?. Is religion the real issue of some great conflicts round the world?.
I like the way Eliza Griswold went to see with her eyes what is happening in Africa and Asia, in common people life, and ho w she can mix history, research, journalism and vivid images of what she experiences and saw.
Religion is not the only issue of this long travelling around the world, where islam and cristiany meet and arrive and clash, in so long time and so different ways. There is so much to tell about economy and geography and education in this slow reportage and essay with no thesis and no answers.
As somebody said: geography is a destiny.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Imaginary Line Of Religious Conflict - The Tenth Parallel, February 4, 2011
In light of recent breaking news in Egypt, another major news story from neighboring Sudan has been largely gone unnoticed. A few days before the Egyptian story escalated to the continuous news-ticker, Southern Sudan voted in a referendum for independence. This quest for independence was documented in the recently released The Tenth Parallel, which examines the interactions of Islam and Christianity along the Tenth Parallel. Eliza Griswold spent years traveling the regions along the tenth parallel, documenting personal accounts of friction between Islam and Christianity, which seem to be most intense along that imaginary line.

In The Tenth Parallel, Griswold explores the clashes between Islam and Christianity in Africa and Asia. She breaks her chapters down into a series of personal anecdotes which are arranged into segments based on nations. The African nations include Nigeria, Sudan and Somalia. The Asian countries are Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Griswold carefully explores the issues at the cellular level, interviewing leaders on both sides of the conflict wherever she travels. She draws interesting parallels between Christianity and Islam, drawn directly from statements made in her interviews.

Griswold is careful to create a delicate balance without taking sides. Griswold simply captures the political and religious climates in the various regions and examines the factors that benefit one religion over the other and socio-economic influences that drive much of the fighting. In addition to her brave and thorough reporting, Griswold manages to take her somewhat dry material and make it engaging. Griswold uses her incredible grasp of language to convey her subjects with enough dimension to allow the reader to visualize her own experiences.

Griswold not only introduces us to the location, but provides a great deal of trivia, while providing depth to her subject. It was an effective tactic that made reading this book much easier. The book does, in fact, contain a great deal of detail. Names, dates, locations, histories, etc. It can be laborious if you are interested in the topic. I was in learning mode and found myself rereading portions of the text to ensure I didn't miss anything. Griswold did a good job of keeping my interest, but the book remained a chore in some respects.

If you are interested in an unbiased examination of the conflicts between Islam and Christianity, then go to the source. The smallest portion of Muslims live in the Arab World. Eighty percent live outside the Middle East. The majority live alongside Christians along the Tenth Parallel, where they remain engaged in on-going conflicts that often boil down to resources and politics. The Tenth Parallel provides incredible insight into the global conflict without taking sides. It was an intriguing book that was personal, informative and well-written. I would highly recommend this book to anyone even mildly interested in the topic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsettling conclusions & a critique of the West, October 12, 2010
By 
JSC Siow "JSC Siow" (Upstate NY, United States) - See all my reviews
An incisive account of the state of religious practice and overall impact of religion in Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. Griswold does a wonderful job of sensitively portraying daily lives in these places in the context of historical, sociological and geographical forces. Her conclusions are unsettling and strongly critiqued the simplistic notions that the West tends to arrive at in framing solutions for development and conflict resolution.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important book, September 28, 2010
By 
Sharon Russell (Terre Haute, IN USA) - See all my reviews
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This is essential reading for anyone interested in the conflict between Christianity and Islam taking place along the tenth parallel in africa and Asia. The authors personal stories are fascinating and her history of the region helps to explain the complex relationship between religion and colonialism.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like watching a dcumentary, September 13, 2010
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Story Girl (Montebello, NY) - See all my reviews
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I was fascinated from the start as the author took me to places deep inside the boundaries of where I might ever visit. In fact, I had visited two of the countries she writes about and I had no idea such conflict was occuring. The author opened my eyes to why the west is so disliked and some of the many errors the US has made in our foreign policies. Fascinating, well written book. I felt like I was with the author on her journey.
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The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam
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