Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a bold and inspired teacher named Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the girls in Azar Nafisi's living room risked removing their veils and immersed themselves in the worlds of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. In this extraordinary memoir, their stories become intertwined with the ones they are reading. Reading Lolita in Tehran is a remarkable exploration of resilience in the face of tyranny and a celebration of the liberating power of literature.
For centuries, the world of Islam was in the forefront of human achievement -- the foremost military and economic power in the world, the leader in the arts and sciences of civilization. Christian Europe was seen as an outer darkness of barbarism and unbelief from which there was nothing to learn or to fear. And then everything changed. The West won victory after victory, first on the battlefield and then in the marketplace.
In this elegantly written volume, Bernard Lewis, a renowned authority an Islamic affairs, examines the anguished reaction of the Islamic world as it tried to make sense of how it had been overtaken, overshadowed, and dominated by the West. In a fascinating portrait of a culture in turmoil, Lewis shows how the Middle East turned its attention to understanding European weaponry, industry, government, education, and culture. He also describes how some Middle Easterners fastened blame on a series of scapegoats, while others asked not "Who did this to us?" but rather "Where did we go wrong?"
With a new Afterword that addresses September 11 and its aftermath, What Went Wrong? is an urgent, accessible book that no one who is concerned with contemporary affairs will want to miss.
Israel is smaller than New Jersey, with 0.11% of the world's population, yet captures a lion's share of headlines. It looks like one country on CNN, a very different one on al-Jazeera. The BBC has their version, The New York Times theirs. But how does Israel look to Israelis?Israel is smaller than New Jersey, with 0.11% of the world's population, yet captures a lion's share of headlines. It looks like one country on CNN, a very different one on al-Jazeera. The BBC has their version, The New York Times theirs. But how does Israel look to Israelis? The answers are varied, and they have been brought together here in one of the most original books about Israel in decades. From battlefields to bedrooms to boardrooms, discover the colliding worlds in which an astounding mix of 7.2 million devoutly traditional and radically modern people live. You'll meet "Arab Jews" who fled Islamic countries, dreadlock-wearing Ethiopian immigrants who sing reggae in Hebrew, Christians in Nazareth who publish an Arabic-style Cosmo, young Israeli Muslims who know more about Judaism than most Jews of the Diaspora, ultra-Orthodox Jews on "Modesty Patrols," and more. Interweaving hundreds of personal stories with intriguing new research, The Israelis is lively, irreverent, and always fascinating.
For six hundred years, the Ottoman Empire swelled and declined. Islamic, martial, civilized, and tolerant, it advanced in three centuries from the dusty foothills of Anatolia to rule on the Danube and the Nile; at its height, Indian rajahs and the kings of France beseeched the empire's aid. In its last three hundred years the empire seemed ready to collapse, a prodigy of survival and decay. In this striking evocation of the empire's power, Jason Goodwin explores how the Ottomans rose and how, against all odds, they lingered on. In doing so, he also offers a long look back to the origins of problems that plague present-day Kosovars and Serbs.
As a child, Elias Chacour lived in a small Palestinian village in Galilee. The townspeople were proud of their ancient Christian heritage and lived at peace with their Jewish neighbors. But early in 1947, their idyllic lifestyle was swept away as tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed and nearly one million forced into refugee camps.
An exile in his native land, Elias began a years-long struggle with his love for the Jewish people and the world's misunderstanding of his own people, the Palestinians. How was he to respond? He found his answer in the simple, haunting words of the Man of Galilee: "Blessed are the peacemakers."
In Blood Brothers, Chacour blends his riveting life story with historical research to reveal a little-known side of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the birth of modern Israel. He touches on controversial questions such as "What behind-the-scenes politics touched off the turmoil in the Middle East?," "What does Bible prophecy really have to say?," and "Can bitter enemies ever be reconciled?"
Originally published by Chosen Books in 1984 and now expanded with a new introduction by the author, a new foreword by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, and a "Since Then" epilogue by writer David Hazard, this compelling book offers readers hope-filled insight into living at peace in the most volatile region of the world.
The Jew, according to the Arab stereotype, is a brutal, violent coward; the Arab, to the prejudiced Jew, is a primitive creature of animal vengeance and cruel desires. In this monumental work, revised and more relevant than ever, David Shipler delves into the origins of the prejudices that have been intensified by war, terrorism, nationalism, and the failure of the peace process.
The best and most comprehensive work there is in the English language on this subject. (Walter Laqueur, The New York Times)
A rich, penetrating, and moving portrayal of Arab-Jewish hostility, told in human terms. (Newsday)
Apart from oil, rugs are the Muslim world's best-known commodity. While rugs are found in most Western homes, the story of religious, political, and tribal strife behind their creation is virtually unknown. In "The Carpet Wars, award-winning journalist Christopher Kremmer chronicles his fascinating ten-year journey along the ancient carpet trade routes that run through the world's most misunderstood and volatile regions -- Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.Christopher Kremmer's odyssey through the crescent of Islamic nations began in the early 1990s, when he arrived in Afghanistan to meet the communist-backed president, Mohammed Najibullah. On the outskirts of Kabul, mujahideen rebels were massing while the carpet dealers of the old city continued to ply their timeless trade. Kremmer was in Kabul when the mujahideen turned their guns on one another after ridding the country of the hated communists. He was there when the Taliban came and the army of religious students -- aided by the wealthy Arab radical Osama bin Laden -- emerged from the scorched earth to implement their vision of "a pure Islamic state."Traveling through these territories, Kremmer chronicles Islamic societies as they were convulsed by dictatorship and greed and as refugees sought asylum in the West. He cemented lifelong friendships and met an unforgettable cast of characters, from nomads toiling on portable handlooms to shady merchants and leaders of the syndicates that control the bazaars. In the remote Hindu Kush, he celebrated Eid with the late Afghan guerrilla legend Ahmad Shah Massoud. In Kandahar, he took tea with Taliban leaders and went hunting for Osamabin Laden. He watched as a new generation questioned the power of the mullahs in Iran, while in Iraq the populace chafed under the weight of sanctions and Saddam Hussein's cult of personality."The Carpet Wars takes readers into a world where even the simplest motif on a rug can be filled with religious, tribal, and political significance, places where life bustles with bargaining and gossip in bazaars and teahouses, while nations crumble, leaders fall, and the final confrontation between freedom and terror looms.An edge-of-the-chair travel memoir, "The Carpet Wars offers a personal, vivid, and revealing look at Islam's human face, wracked by turmoil but sustained by friendship, industry, and humor. It is also a historical snapshot of countries at the center of global confrontation that exploded onto the homefront on September 11, 2001.