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i see the reviews are extremely polarized, No doubt because any one interested in the subject comes at it from a point of view. I picked this book as I have always wanted to understand the religion and had lived ten years in Saudi Arabia so had many questions to answer.
I think the author tried his best, though claiming to be agnostic he tries to reveal the belief system without any comment or challenge and leaves the reader to make up his own mind. I got the sense he felt he was walking on egg shells a bit.
He also shows a particular ant US bias and quite keen to draw the readers attention to what he perceives to be strongly anti US sentiments within the Middle East Muslim world. He over plays tis aspect
otherwise an interesting if not authoritative read
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
It is unrealistic to expect someone to write a serious book on a subject without developing strong emotional ties to it. Moreover, those ties are likely to be of a positive nature. In the other words, the author who writes seriously about Muslims will sympathize with them, and it is only normal.
Current conflict between the Muslim and the Western worlds and between Muslims and Jews makes the topic particularly hot. One who removes the lid from the boiling pot must not be surprised when he sees boiling water, even gets a few hot drops on his skin.
I give five stars to the author, who, while loving Muslims, never sounds irritated, refrains from outwardly negative assessments and stays in this hot stream as cool as possible. I have not sensed a hint of antisemitic or anti-western inclinations when a proponent of the Muslim point of view would be expected to fall into some.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and have understood Muslim cause a great deal more as a result of reading it without loosing a bit of my Western and Jewish sympathies.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
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I read the book because I wanted to find out more about Islam, and this is an excellent book for that. There is a lot of information about belief, history, the schools, culture, architecture, food and politics.
However there are sections (in particular towards the beginning) whereby it is very biased towards Islam and against Christianity and Judaism. He is almost trying to show why Islam is better then Christianity and Judaism, presenting a very one-sided view of many historical events.
But if you can ignore the bias, having read the book I feel I have a much better understanding and I would recommend the book to anybody wanting to find out more about Islam.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful