On the Road to Kandahar: Travels Through Conflict in the Islamic World First Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0312366223
ISBN-10: 0312366221
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A veteran foreign correspondent, Burke takes his readers on a whistle-stop tour of modern Islamic radicalism in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, Algeria, Thailand and places in between. Burke, whose previous book, Al-Qaeda, incisively cut through some of the errant conventional wisdom about that terrorist organization, began his Mideastern journeys as a volunteer in the Kurdish peshmerga after the first Gulf War. Many of his escapades read like scenes cut from Full Metal Jacket—a fact he self-consciously acknowledges many times. Though Burke doesn't always have the strongest grasp on the intricacies of local politics and theologies—and freely admits it, unlike many commentators—his conversations with all kinds of ordinary people illuminate the struggles that define their existence and sometimes metastasize into intolerant ideologies. His conclusion is hopeful, if tinged with warning: "[D]espite the best efforts of men like bin Laden and al-Zawahiri and al-Zarqawi, despite the incompetent, corrupt, sclerotic dynastic rulers still clinging to power everywhere... the ordinary people of the Islamic world... whose voices were so often drowned out by shouting and gunfire... had not been won over by the radicals." Nonetheless, as Burke argues, the war in Iraq has clearly not helped matters. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Through his own personal journey from a college student fighting alongside Kurdish guerrillas in northern Iraq in 1991 to a seasoned reporter covering conflicts from the Sahara to the Himalayas, British journalist Burke explores the complexities of the region and its culture, politics, and religion, which are often boiled down to anti-West terrorism and radicalism. Deriding the notion of Islamic culture as monolithic, Burke draws on interviews with government ministers, mujahideen, and refugees fleeing the violence to offer a portrait of the place of Islam in Middle Eastern politics and conflicts. Burke examines how Islam is used by some to radicalize and mobilize militants, and the propaganda fomented by the West and Islamic nations, including how the U.S. switched from denying Sadam Hussein's human-rights violations to suddenly discovering evidence and using it as justification for going to war against Iraq. As a journalist, he concedes his own culpability in the misunderstandings about the "Islamic world" as he details the evolving struggle to define and explain what is happening between the West and the Middle East. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Reviewed in the United States on February 13, 2008
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