Saturday, June 9, 2007

Book List: For Deeper Understanding

For Deeper Understanding:

The Myth of Islamic Tolerance
Author: Edited by Robert Spencer
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 1591022495
Publish Date: 2005
Publisher: Prometheus Books

The Gathering Storm e-Book
Availability: HERE.

Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against America
Author: Walid Phares
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 1-4039-7074-2
Publish Date: 2005
Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
Review: This book, footnoted and indexed, is a riveting read! In its “Introduction,” Dr. Phares begins with a short and emotional description of the events of 9/11 and refers to the day as “The Pearl Harbor of Terrorism.” Having analyzed the jihad phenomenon for twenty-five years prior to 9/11, Dr. Walid Phares, an expert on the Middle East and a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, seeks to answer ten questions, including the following:
(1) Why did the jihadists launch the attacks of September 11?
(2) Are the jihadists planning on future wars?
(3) What can we do about these jihadists?
The opening chapter points out that jihad, a religious duty within Islam, dates from the seventh century and was officially a state business. Perhaps the most chilling material in the book can be found in Chapters 13 and 15, “Projecting Future Jihad” and “America: Jihad’s Second Generation,” respectively. In his concluding chapter, Dr. Phares warns, with some urgency, “At the end of the next decade, historians will be asking many questions and will face the dilemma of hindsight. The war against terrorism will be seen as archaic compared to what will have by then become a worldwide conflict with jihad terror. And it may also be possible that the war of ideas will have been won by stages. But a stalemate could have been reached as well, if by the middle of this decade several opportunities have been lost.” This final chapter assesses the impact of 9/11 and the progress so far on the war on terror, emphasizes the importance of dealing with the second generation of Al Qaeda, and advises that Americans need to go beyond what they learn in the “educational establishment, which is now becoming an isolated bastion of denial.” Dr. Phares presents a frightening reality in his book, but because he has done a lifetime of research and is fluent in Arabic, thus able to understand what is being said in various terrorist chat rooms, he knows whereof he speaks. Dr. Phares’ web site is here, and he also contributes to
The Counterterrorism Blog , an informative site for current information related to the topics raised in Dr. Phares' book.
Availability: Amazon, most bookstores, Dr. Phares' web site, some library systems

The Arab Mind
Author: Raphael Patai
Format: Paperback (2002 edition)
ISBN: 1578261171
Publish Date: 1976. Republished in 1983 and 2002
Publisher: Hatherleigh Press
Review: Patai, a cultural anthropologist, was born in Hungary in 1910, and died in 1996. He taught in several schools, including Princeton and Columbia. His professional background gives the reader a perspective of the Arab that is different from, but contextually related to, the one obtained from focusing primarily on Islam. He shows us many of their day-to-day activities, including education, sexual issues, art, music, and literature, as well as less familiar issues. For example, he talks about the "Bedouin ethos," its aversion to physical labor, and also spends a good deal of time on the influence of the Arab language. Its use of exaggeration, overassertion, and repetition is a practice which traces its ancestry from pre-Islamic times, and continues to the present. He discusses the proneness to conflict and volatility of the Arab mind--the "reaction produced by real or imaginary injuries, insults, slights, and infringements of honor." These cause a "violent reaction, with a compulsive inner need to retaliate, so that there is a flare-up, a clash, usually followed by a rapid return to quiescence."

Dr. Patai died several years before 9/11, but everything he wrote is so useful that his book is used to teach American military teams being deployed to the Middle East. There is a very inclusive postscript, "The Last Ten years," with updates, tables, and two appendices, one of which compares the Arab World and Spanish America.
Availability: In some large public-library systems; .

The Koran Its Composition and Teaching and the Testimony It Bears to the Holy Scriptures
Author: Sir William Muir
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1417948736
Publish Date: 9/1/2004
Publisher: Kessinger Publishing

Author: D.S. Margoliouth
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0830500448
Publish Date: February 1983
Publisher: Gibson Press

Relations Between Arabs and Israelis Prior to the Rise of Islam -
Author: D.S. Margoliouth
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0317157728
Publish Date: June 1921

Author: Christian S. Hurgronje
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0830500383
Publish Date: June 1981 (reprint)
Publisher: Gibson Press

Mekka in the Latter Part of the 19th Century -
Author: C. Snouck Hurgronje
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9004020667
Publish Date: August 1997
Publisher: Brill Academic

The Legacy of Islam
Author: Joseph Schacht
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 019821913X
Publish Date: January 1975
Publisher: Oxford Univ Press

Mohammed and the Rise of Islam
Author: David S. Margoliouth Format: Paperback
ISBN: 193195674X
October 2003
Publisher: Ams Press

Islam and the Psychology of the Musulman
Author: Andre Servier. Translated By A. S. Moss-Blundell. With a Preface By Louis Bertrand
Format: Hardcover
ASIN: B00086Z1WS
Publish Date: 1924
Publisher: Scribners
Review: The author wrote this book in order to warn his countrymen of the problems they faced with Muslims and Islam in the French colonies of North Africa. France ignored his warning, but it is not too late for us to take advantage of his insights, since we face the same problems today. It covers Islam very completely, including its history and much of what has influenced the Muslim to have the worldview he has today. Of particular interest is the attention he gives to the myth of the production of a "Golden Age" by Islam, which he debunks at some length.
Availability: Used-books search services.

The Life of Muhammad
Author: Ibn Ishaq. Translated by A. Guillaume
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0196360331
Publish Date: 1955 (17th printing, 2004)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Review: This biography of Muhammad was written by Ibn Ishaq only about one hundred fifty years after Muhammad's death. Professor Guillaume's translation contains variants and additions from other early authors, and is considered to contain virtually all that is known about the life of Muhammad.
Availability: Oxford University Press

History of the Arabs
Author: Philip K. Hitti
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0333631420
Publish Date: 1937 (Revised 10th edition, Walid Khalidi, 2002)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review: The author was born in Lebanon in 1886, but lived in the U.S. from 1913 until his death in 1978. He taught at the American University in Beirut, Columbia University and Princeton. This well written scholarly treatise of over seven hundred pages is surprisingly easy to read. It begins with the pagan Arabs, and covers in substantial detail their transformation into contemporary Islam. The Index is very complete and makes it easy to navigate the book. The author's discernable bias in some places, e.g. the Crusades and the Muslim "Golden Age," in no way detracts from its value as a very fine reference. If there's something you want to know about the Arabs, it's probably in there.
Availability: General

The Life and Religion of Mohammed It is of interest to note that this is the book that CAIR at one time recently pressured the National Review Book Service to remove from its shelves, but which is available through other sources, listed below.
Author: Fr. J.L. Menezes
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 192929168x
Publish Date: Original, 1912
Review: Not only would the purchase of this book be a slap in the face at CAIR's feeble attempt to impose its own brand of censorship on American citizens, but it's an excellent read. It reflects the author's deep knowledge of Islam and Mohammed, and supplies the reader with details not often seen elsewhere. Father Menezes says in his preface "I have had no other aim, than that of placing before my readers, Mahommed and Islam in their true colours--so that over 60 millions of my countrymen in India, who blindly follow Mahommed...may open their eyes, and behold how they are deceived..."

This extremely interesting and eminently readable book is divided into five parts: The Life of Mahommed, Mahommed at Medina, The Koran, Sects in Islam and the Conclusion, for a total of 183 pages jam-packed with the kinds of detail that help "connect the dots" in a way rarely seen.
Availability: ; Roman Catholic Books, PO.Box 255, Harrison, NY 10528, .

Islam Undressed
Author: Vernon Richards
Format: Online
Publish Date : February 13, 2005
Publisher: Vernon Richards
Review: Once again, here is a book where the subtitle itself is a mini-review: "A Critical Analysis of 'Real Islam,' Its People, Culture, Philosophy, and Practices, Yesterday and Today."
For those who are familiar with Robert Spencer's work, I'll include what he had to say about this work: "A valuable sourcebook to the destructive activities of radical Muslims, and the Islamic texts they use to justify their actions and gain recruits in the Islamic world."

Richards' book deals with Islam within the context of its chronology, which is enormously helpful in providing context. In my opinion, this book should be the premier textbook for high school and especially college students. This is in no way because it is superficial; rather, it is because of its sophistication, its detail, its completeness, its superb explanations of unfamiliar ideas, its excellent references, its historical and chronological approach, and because unlike virtually every textbook our students have access to, it is not politically correct. The importance of getting the material in this books to our future policy setters is incalculable. This recommendation is made even though for most of our students, the curriculum has been "dumbed down," and so they run the risk of having to work a little harder with it; however, it is worth any bit of struggle they may have with it.

Needless to say, it serves as a similarly excellent resource for non-students. I give it a personal "five stars."

Winning the War Against Radical Islam
Author: Dr. Robert A. Morey
Format: Paperback
Publish Date: 2002
Publisher: Christian Scholars Press
Review: Although this relatively short book is written by a devout Christian from a Christian perspective, I am placing it in this section rather than in the "From the Christian Perspective" section lest someone make the mistake of assuming that its focus is too narrow to make it useful to non-Christians. Don't make this mistake, especially if you are relatively new to the "Islam problem." Dr. Morey's book was written after 9/11, and is one of the best introductory books on Islam around; Morey, a recognized scholar on Islam in general, and on terrorism in particular, has written what I call an "overview" book, and gives the reader some very interesting history of the pagan and non-pagan sources of Islam. You can see from the titles in the table of contents the sorts of things it addresses: "Who Is This Allah? Who Was Muhammad? What Is the Qu'an? What Is the Meaning of Jihad?" Of particular interest, however, is Dr. Morey's section called "How to Defeat Radical Islam." Let me say only this: Neither the author nor his solution is P.C.