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Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat Hardcover – March 6, 2012
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About the Author
Dr. Michael Widlanski is a specialist in Arab politics and communication whose doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media. He is a former reporter, correspondent, and editor, respectively, at The New York Times, The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution, and The Jerusalem Post. He has also served as a special advisor to Israeli delegations to peace talks in 1991-1992 and as Strategic Affairs Advisor to the Ministry of Public Security, editing secret PLO Archives captured in Jerusalem.
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From Columbia's Edward Said to the New York Times' Thomas Friedman, Widlanski exposes the agendas of the Who's Who of talking heads in the Middle East war of words. After reading this book, Brian Williams and Dan Rather come off looking like choir boys.
In the tradition of Woodward and Bernstein, some of the best investigative reporting I've read in a long time.
Dr. Widlanski in a refreshing departure from most finger pointers, offers not only accusations, but also the solution on how we can meet the challenge of terrorism head on and win. He skillfully redirects the conversation to challenge us to do just that before it is too late. Dr. Widlanski's wealth of experience and credentials combine with a thoroughly engaging style to provide us with a well-researched, well written book. This book is an essential read with a real plan for winning the struggle against Islamic terrorism.
It is clear that Widlanski is a real scholar of Islam and of counter-terror affairs. He takes a realistic and not an alarmist view of Islam. He does not paint all Muslims and Arabs as terrorists. However, he is much tougher on Westerners; that is the media pundits, professors and intelligence officials who often know little about their suposed fields of expertise. He does not suffer fools easily, especially those who pose as experts. Though Widlanski takes a very critical view of Western elites, he is not a pessimist, but rather an optimist who shows that the West can defeat Arab-Islamic terror. That is the positive message he leaves the reader.
When I saw a few more people reading it, I decided to get the book. It turned out to be a wise investment.
The interesting thing about the book is that, if you have followed current events and have been a regular reader of major newspapers, you know most of the individual acts mentioned in the book. What Michael did in the book, which I and probably most other people did not do, is assemble the acts together and follow them to their conclusion. When you see the individual acts connected for the first time, you are both surprised and amazed at the result.
In essence Michael has provided us with a blueprint of how to read and analyze the news. Most of us just consider stories in isolation and do not really take time to think about how they really relate to prior news stories. Now, what we have learned from Michael is that we have to stop and think. How does this build on what we read in other stories.
Another important lesson from the book is that the talking heads are not only not always right but are more often wrong. Further they are frequently pushing their agenda which may be an incorrect one or even biased.
Prior to reading the book I knew that Tom Friedman was very biased and often totally wrong in his assessment of Israeli related topics. Now we have learned that other well know commentators have the same biases and are also often wrong
When it comes to Israel and to terrorism, we need to take a long look at who is writing the article. Their background and personal biases are important.
This book should be read by everyone who wants to understand the news, and I definitely recommend it.
Liberals will accuse Michael of being his own bias, but the fact remains that when we actually examine the statements of the Liberals they seem to follow the Neviille Chamberlain school of diplomacy. It did not quite work out for Neville and the world and Hitler almost conquered the world. This antiquated liberal way of thinking did not work out well for Chamberlain or Jimmy Carter, and it does not work for Obama. We need journalists who understand this important point
This is why the book needs to be on everyone's shelf
It takes Michael's clear thinking, reason, and common sense reading of historical and contemporary facts to clear away the cobwebs of political correctness
that have ensnared the West, to the point where we can no longer differentiate between truth and lies, or good and evil. If only Columbia University students
were required to read "Battle for Our Minds" along side Edward Said's "Orientalism," they might come out the other end with their eyes open.
Mevaseret Zion, Israel