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Children of Jihad: A Young American's Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East Paperback – Bargain Price, August 26, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Children of Jihad is a very smart, insightful account of a young Jewish- American (and rhodes scholar) trying to understand his generation across the line in the middle east.
Tom Brokaw, NBC Universal
"This young gutsy writer knows that the East-West struggle is being fought over the cafe tables of the Near and Middle East. Do the youth of the Islamic world dream of an engineering degree from Michigan State or a martyrs death? This young American has had the moxie to sit and listen for hours at those tables. In the words of the poet, Jared Cohen has taken the road "less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
Chris Matthews, Host of MSNBC's Hardball and NBC's The Chris Matthews Show
"Jared Cohen has written a unique book. Imagine a young American circulating in the back alleys and cafes of Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Palestinian refugee camps, and Iraq meeting other youth on their terms and asking pointed questions about their aspirations, concerns and attitudes toward their rulers and toward the United States. There are breathtaking descriptions of flirting with danger and fascinating dialogues that provide deep insights into the politics and sociology of four key countries in the Middle East. It is a fascinating read which I recommend to anyone who wants to develop a better understanding of the [Middle East] and Arab world."
Frank Carlucci, Former Secretary of Defense
"An enlightening and entertaining story that is part travelogue and part cultural analysis. Gaining insights through simple conversation, Cohen paints a compelling picture of the politically awakened youth of the Middle East."
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Former National Security Advisor
"In this remarkable book Cohen provides a fresh perspective on the Middle East. Seen through the eyes of the youth, and poignantly describing their hopes and despairs, Cohen provides a timely commentary on the troubled relations between America and the Middle East. Looking at the habits and passions that binds the youth across the cultural divide as well as the politics that which divides them this book provides much food for thought for Americans and Middle Easterners alike."
Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam will Shape the Future
"Children of Jihad succeeds at breaking down some inaccurate generalizations and replacing them with more accurate generalizations, and it does a good job of humanizing Middle Eastern youth by telling their individual stories"
"An important book to read."
Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC Morning Joe
"I admire Jared Cohen's courage, vigor and insight. He has been a wonderful source of information and understanding about Iran, particularly youth attitudes and ideals. His advice is helpful in fostering better relations, better public diplomacy and progress toward greater democratic freedoms and openness in Iran."
Senator Richard Lugar, Ranking Member on Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Cohens chronicle is fine fieldwork for students of the Middle East
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Right away he looses all credibility with his exaggeration. He fondly describes how risky it was to sneak into an African Civil War on a truck of bananas. Is this necessary? Lines like "I was flirting with the idea of crossing from Iran into Basra." But he didn't, so why would he write this? To stroke his ego of how adventurous he is to ignorant people back in America who will never travel over here. The whole part leading up to entering Kurdistan and how he was going into a war zone is fabricated. He obviously knew this wasn't the case beforehand if he was a guest of the KRG, so why the long drawn out blabber about how he might die. People travel freely in Kurdistan and it is hardly dangerous, and he knew this going in. Much of the Middle East is very safe for travel, so why the constant reminders that he might die at any second? He is concerned with painting a picture of himself as a risk taker, regardless of the actual circumstances. This holds true in much of his writing about Arabs. He has a picture he wants to paint regardless of the actual situation.
The section that Cohen writes about Hezbollah is absurd. I am an American student at AUB, and what he says about hundreds of Hezbollah "operatives" "infiltrating" the university is ridiculous.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I learned so much about the middle east reading this book ...I was so glad the author gave some background on each region that he travelled to. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Gloria Soliz
I enjoyed this book and I learned quite a bit about Iran and its politics. However, I found the title a little deceptive as I expected something more about "Jihad" as it... Read morePublished 22 months ago by BJ Maure
used it for a history class. inexpensive purchase, shipped and arrived on time. very satisfied with purchase.Published 22 months ago by Cassandra
Jared's ability to connect with people from such diverse backgrounds is incredible. His courage to go into dangerous places, connect with strangers, and risk his own safety is... Read morePublished on March 5, 2014 by Kunal Tandon
Like Susan Nathan's "The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish-Arab Divide", this guy went to where few Jewish people would dare to go--to the "other side", those that... Read morePublished on June 17, 2011 by HOWARD M MERKEN
If you ever want to know what is wrong with the world, read this book. People who are tying to "help" and are "open" and 'smart" with all of their "experience" and "knowledge" but... Read morePublished on April 21, 2011 by trustTreview
Great book, well writen. J. Cohen will be going in for the global takeover soon enough, actually he already is. We're in good hands. This book sheds light on a mysterious region. Read morePublished on March 18, 2011 by Jack Duhamel
I read in hope of finding some interesting insight but what I found is a lost boy.
The writer continuously be in shock whenever he see anti-America propaganda, which is... Read more
Great writing, fascinating adventure, brilliant young man.
Should be required reading for many in our government and I'm glad he's part of it.