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A lucid, comprehensive examination of the true relationship between Islam and global politics
Analysts and pundits from across the American political spectrum describe Islamic fundamentalism as one of the greatest threats to modern, Western-style democracy. Yet very few non-Muslims would be able to venture an accurate definition of political Islam. Mohammed Ayoob's The Many Faces of Political Islam thoroughly describes the myriad manifestations of this rising ideology and analyzes its impact on global relations.
"In this beautifully crafted and utterly compelling book Mohammed Ayoob accomplishes admirably the difficult task of offering a readily accessible yet nuanced and comprehensive analysis of an issue of enormous political importance. Both students and specialists will learn a great deal from this absolutely first-rate book."
—Peter J. Katzenstein, Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies and Stephen Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow, Cornell University
"Dr. Ayoob addresses the nuances and complexities of political Islam—be it mainstream, radical, or militant—and offers a road map of the pivotal players and issues that define the movement. There is no one as qualified as Mohammed Ayoob to write a synthesis of various manifestations of political Islam. His complex narrative highlights the changes and shifts that have taken place within the Islamist universe and their implications for internal Muslim politics and relations between the world of Islam and the Christian world."
—Fawaz A. Gerges, Carnegie Scholar, and holds the Christian A. Johnson Chair in International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies, Sarah Lawrence College
"This is a wonderful concise book by an accomplished and sophisticated political scientist who nonetheless manages to convey his interpretation of complex issues and movements to even those who have little background on the subject. It is impressive in its clarity, providing a badly needed text on political Islam that's accessible to college students and the general public alike."
—Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, University of Maryland, and Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
"Let's hope that many readers—not only academics but policy-makers as well—will use this invaluable book."
—François Burgat, Director, French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the Institute for Research and Study on the Arab and Muslim World (IREMAM), Aix-en-Provence, France
"Although explicitly aimed at students in introductory courses and at nonspecialist readers, this is no dumbed-down textbook. Its argumentation is sophisticated, convincing, supported with ample empirical detail and presented in crisp, clear prose. While it does indeed fill the gap of a suitable introductory text to the subject, it will also be of value to specialists because of its intellectual merits and the wide scope of its coverage. Those familiar with the author’s previous works on the subject will find here a useful crystallization of his ideas on the topic, combined with an expanded empirical universe that stretches from Morocco to Indonesia...The next time I teach a course on this subject, this is the book I shall use and strongly recommend that others do as well. It not only debunks pernicious myths, but it puts a clear case that is far more right than wrong and serves as an excellent thesis against which various antithetical ideas can be articulated and discussed."
—Robert Springborg, Director of the London Middle East Institute, Middle East Policy Review
"Mohammed Ayoob's The Many Faces of Political Islam makes a fine contribution toward remedying this problem, offering a sophisticated and sweeping analysis that will be welcomed by multiple audiences. Written explicitly for advanced undergraduates and general readers, the book will also appeal to scholarly non-specialists looking for a wide-ranging, theoretically informed synthesis of the best work available. No existing book combines such comprehensiveness with clarity, confidence, and authority...Remarkable in scope, the book's major contribution is its successful marriage of a compelling, theoretically sound general argument with a wide array of specific cases synthesizing the best work by specialists. Rather than offering a string of discrete, disconnected summaries of Islamist activity in various far-flung places, the book makes an exceptionally well-integrated argument about the national origins of Islamism. Its clever comparisons are designed to advance the larger claim while shedding light on the particular cases."
—Andrew Flibbert, Perspectives on Politics
"How refreshing it is to have a book on this subject that gets around to discussing al Qaeda only in the last pages of the penultimate chapter. In the early pages of this accessible short study, Ayoob lays to rest the 'myth of the Islamic monolith' and restores Islam and politics to history. Which means, as with other world religions, a complexity of continuity and change."
—L. Carl Brown, Foreign Affairs
"Lucidly written with a minimum of Arabic phrases, this book will interest non-Muslims and Muslims alike. Highly recommended."
—R. G. Mainuddin, North Carolina Central University, Choice
"[I]n this thought-provoking and important book Ayoob dispels a number of widely held misconceptions about Islam. ... The book is extremely well written, lucid and carefully balanced. He does not rant or resort to rhetoric. His nuanced interpretations of the many forms and expressions of political Islam around the world fully justify his claim that he has destroyed 'the myth of the Islamic monolith.'"
—International Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies, Professor Carole Hillenbrand, University of Edinburgh
Copyright © 2007, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.
Read: Review: Foreign Affairs
Read: Review: Perspecitves on Politics
Read: Review: The Middle East's Turko-Persian Future