Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting history, January 2, 2003
This review is from: What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response (Hardcover)
From the title and subtitle, I expected this to be another book placing the blame for September 11 on America, but, fortunately, a sense of fair play prompted me to read it anyway. As it turns out, the book was in fact written before (although published after) September 11, and contains mostly neutral history. Where there is commentary (very rarely) it appears equally neutral. Lewis simply describes how the Islamic world rose and fell in comparison with the West, including extensive discussion -- from weapons to music -- of what the two borrowed or refused to borrow from one another. The picture that results is one of a stagnant, rather than oppressed, Middle East -- a Middle East whose problems result largely from internal causes, rather than from exploitation by outsiders. The book ends with a sobering challenge from Lewis: that to restore its former glory, the Middle East must abandon the scapegoating and conspiracy theories currently so popular, and embrace responsibility for itself.
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Location: Phoenix, AZ

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