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on July 28, 2017
This is a good read to help see the complexities of the relationship between Islam and Christianity as played out in the places of intersection. She demonstrates through story the nonbinary nature of the situation, juxtaposing people of genuine faith with economic, pollution, and historical forces that marginalize people and use religion. The author finds a good balance of objectivity, but also acknowledging how she herself is affected by and even part of the story.
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on December 10, 2010
Both insightful and intrepid, Eliza Griswold journeyed through Africa and Asia along the tenth parallel, the line of latitude 700 miles north of the equator where nearly 25% of the world's Muslims and Christians compete for resources, converts and political power. A poet with an ear for simple but evocative language, Griswold takes the reader through the dust of encroaching desertification as she attends an indigenous Indonesian wedding, meets with African rape victims, sits with a Muslim religious leader as he tries to resolve local disputes, and observes an election where voters line up in a barren field behind the candidate of their choice. After reading about her meetings with the homosexual and Muslim denouncing Anglican Bishop Akinola of Nigeria I still have no sympathy with his views, but I now have some understanding of why he thinks the way he does. Griswold's own empathy serves her well; believers on both sides of the religious divide open up to her. As an agnostic daughter of the former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Griswold even shares a flash of private connection with crusading evangelist Franklin Graham when she meets him in Africa--though they have very different ideas they are both PKs, preacher's kids, with childhoods that were a struggle between belief and rebellion. My copy of THE TENTH PARALLEL is tabbed with more than 30 post-it notes marking sections I thought were so perceptive and illuminating I knew I'd want to read them again.
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on January 1, 2012
The Tenth Parallel is a superb, largely first-hand account about the universal and perpetual struggle for power. As Eliza Griswold points out, the world's two major religions abut -- much as do storm fronts -- at the tenth parallel, across Africa and Asia. Sadly, the media largely glosses over the intricacies that enweb the conflict. As a result, few folks, whether in or out of government, have a firm grasp on the forces in play. Of course, perhaps a "firm" grasp is not possible, but it must be more tight than it is if we are going to survive in this century. Griswold's superb book is not only must reading, but a page-turner as well. She writes with both incredible insight and aplomb. I wish that our policy makers would read it; perhaps some have and will--most, however, spend all their time either running for office or seeking the politico to whom to hitch their careers (preparing for the time when they can move through the revolving door to private-sector fortune).
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on March 21, 2018
Can't put into words what Griswold has done. Referenced it while taking Harvard's MOOC Religion, Conflict & Peace. Opens eyes as to life, not just religion, difficulties in the world
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on February 9, 2011
I am only about 1/2 way through this amazing and disturbing book. But already I feel I have gleaned a much better understanding of the conflicts that threaten Africa, the "Middle-East" and the world. Eliza Griswold's first-hand accounts not only trace the history of attitudes and perspectives that fueled the conflicts but give insight into the contemporary news we are watching unfold in the Sudan, in Egypt and wherever "religion" and politics are combining in a volatile mixture. It all comes down to issues of survival, from a zero-sum understanding of survival, which will always have Winners and Loosers, whether it's physical survival on this planet or the belief in the soul's survival in an afterlife.
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on December 18, 2017
An insight into the origins of the divide between the Christian and the Muslim worlds by a woman with the bravery to venture into some of the most dangerous points of confrontation between those two worlds, the discipline to do the hard work to understand and convey the history of each, and the heart to tell the story with eloquence. Even more relevant today than when originally written almost ten years ago.
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on October 10, 2014
This book points out the complexity of dealing with cultures and people along the fault line between Islam and Christianity. It helped me to better understand how, why this fault line exists. It points out the incendiary combination of religion, poverty, population growth and poor government. Tolerance, economic security, better government and population control are clear paths to help improve the life of these fault line folks but I am not holding my breath.
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on June 17, 2015
An excellent book that helped me understand how complex the Muslim vs. Christian issue is in Africa and Asia. The problems are over religion, but are also driven by political and economic issues. She talked to a lot of religious leaders, "terrorists", and everyday people on the front lines of the battle so the reader really gets a good perspective on the motives and thoughts on both sides. Unfortunately there does not appear to be any end in sight, with global climate change just making resources more scarce and the battles for land & resources more critical. Overall a great read (just finished my second time through).
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on October 22, 2012
I heard about the book when the author was a guest on the National Cathedral Forum some time ago and wrote down her name and the title of the book so that I could purchase it the next time I looked at Amazon. I knew next to nothing about the ninth and tenth parallels of which Miss Griswold wrote. I had heard of the uprisings in that part of the world, but her take is quite different from them. She writes of people and places that are not usually in the news. The book is one that I recommend to anyone who would like to know more about Africa and its people and why they live as they do. The first couple of chapters are necessary, but the book takes on life in the rest.
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on December 2, 2016
A wonderfully eye opening book from an interesting viewpoint. Would definitely recommend for anyone interested in religion around the world
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