|Print List Price:||$17.00|
Save $9.01 (53%)
Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price set by seller.
Children of Jihad: A Young American's Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East Kindle Edition
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
- ASIN : B000W9658A
- Publisher : Avery (October 25, 2007)
- Publication date : October 25, 2007
- Language : English
- File size : 1209 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 308 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,280,875 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
If you believe the reason for the east-west discord is much more nuanced and complicated, then Cohen doesn't provide anything insightful. It's not a new discovery to learn that most people want jobs, dignity and live in peace. That most children in the middle east grow up with a healthy diet of Oprah, Hanna Montana and McDonalds.
Again, if you've ever travelled to or studied in the region in anyway, this book (with the exception of party scenes in Beirut) is dull.
Instead, COJ succeeds on a whole other level--part page-turning adventure, part history/social study, part conversational reporting--truly unlike anything I've read on the subject. Cohen draws heavily on personal interviews and daily interactions from his months abroad to paint a surprisingly vibrant portrait of young people across the Middle East (most strikingly, Iran); one that is more dynamic, perceptive and pro-American than most of us think.
His interviews and anecdotes compellingly remind us that the campaign for "hearts and minds" is a two-way effort. In public diplomacy, it's not enough for us to get our message out to "them"; we must also actively listen to what "they" have to say to us--about their hopes and aspirations; about the US role and how our policies affect their daily lives--if we are ever to acheive the diplomatic goals we seek. In this respect, the book is an excellent source for public diplomacy scholars and practitioners.
Organized by destination (Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq), COJ reads like an exciting and informative ride across Cohen's death wish of a map. Thematically, the book focuses on what Cohen calls the "Youth Party," which serves as a purposefully broad demographic marker (two-thirds of the ME is under 30), as well as a metonym for an ineluctable, generational thirst for change.
Cohen and the majority of his subjects--ranging from students to taxi drivers to members of Hezbollah--were all under 25 at the time of writing. It makes for a fresh and novel approach, and Cohen is a truly gifted storyteller. He strikes a narrative balance between observation and empathy that feels right, and reads well. Brief historical backgrounders are included where needed for readers new to the subject.
Above all, Cohen allows himself (and the reader) to be surprised and touched by the people he meets because his encounters are rooted in mutual respect. Fluent in Arabic and Farsi, and an area scholar, he is candid about his identity as an American Jew, while remaining sensitive to the repressive political contexts in which he and his new friends must operate.
Whoever said, "Youth is wasted on the young" must not have read this book--energetic and bold, it is a highly accessible, ambitious, and clear-eyed account that I would recommend to anyone with an interest in the region. Cohen used his youth and insouciance to his remarkable advantage, and even area experts likely will be surprised by his findings.
But his writing suffers from a couple of flaws. First, he writes about too much history. Now, I love history--I was a history major--but Cohen is not a historian and this is not a historical book. I appreciate that some of what he talks about is useful to understanding the situation in which he finds himself--but the history need not go on for pages. It is amateurish. And second, the whole theme and writing seem rather hackneyed. "As an American Jew, I couldn't believe how nice they were...etc., etc., etc." Every chapter is new scenery, new people, but the same exact story over and over again. Disappointing.
He makes compelling arguments, through anecdotes and recollections of his travels throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, etc, that these young people are precisely the hearts and minds we need to be winning. The true value of his approach lies in the fact that he doesn't view his encounters through the lens of a foreign policy expert but rather as a peer, as someone who is genuinely looking for answers, and as someone who will listen to the stories that are so often left unheard and reflect on the implications for the America, the West and the World.
It's refreshing to hear an informed perspective on how the West and the Middle East can and will co-exist, despite the many perceived differences. "Children of Jihad" is a must-read for anyone who wants to attain or update an informed opinion on the current and historical issues facing this important region.