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The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam…
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The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future

by Vali Nasr

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Dan Mayland's assignation for the second annual Men's Book Club is this staggeringly tedious account of the history and politics of the Shia branch of Islam, unreadable except by specialists, academics, and people with seriously way too much time on their hands. A particularly irritating choice given that my father and I, like all educated, middle-class liberals, are in theory in favor of learning about different cultures, religions, blah blah blah, and are thus trapped by our own good consciences into this mind-numbing endurance test. As Melanie's father says, "no good deed goes unpunished." Prof. Nasr, meanwhile, seems like a good egg, and he sure seems to know a lot about religion and the Middle East; I guess someone has to. Meanwhile, watch this space for a possible opening slot in the roster of the Men's Book Club, pending the result of Mayland's probationary period. ( )
  MikeLindgren51 | Aug 7, 2018 |
A must read book for those interested in understanding more about the conflicts in the Middle East, including the Iraq War, and politics in Muslim countries. Nasr provides an succinct yet nuanced analysis of the differences between Shi'ism and Sunnism and how conflicts between these two Muslim groups have affected politics in the past. In addition, he explains how the rise of a Shia ruling majority in Iraq will likely produce conflict and controversy in other Muslim countries. ( )
1 vote bluebyrd | Jul 25, 2009 |
Interesting start, but petered off ( )
1 vote jaygheiser | Jul 23, 2008 |
Every once in a while an author writes a book that challenges the foundation of all of one’s thinking.

Vali Nasr is such an author. “The Shia Revival” is such a book. Reading it will leave you questioning the value taxpayers have reaped from the billions invested in diplomacy and intelligence. His thesis is clear and obvious; yet, it pales one’s imagination that it never exposed before this.

Nasr, a professor at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA argues convincingly that Saddam Hussein’s removal from power in Iraq has changed the Mid-east, but in ways never conceived by President Bush and his neo-con advisors. By removing Iraq’s Sunni dominated dictatorship, he argues, and replacing it with the Shiite majority, the United States has destroyed the buffer that has held the Shia in Iran in check.

This will play out, he argues, with increasing confrontations between Sunnis and Shiites throughout the region starting in Iraq and then spreading from Lebanon, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

This divide will have serious consequences for United States’ foreign policy. By creating the first Shiite-led state in the Arab world since the rise of Islam, we have ignited hopes among the region’s 150 million Shiites. Yet, our policy still operates under the old assumptions of Sunni dominance.

It never fails that actions often lead to unintended consequences. In this case, however, Nasr clearly lays out a case that there will be no quick fixes.

This is a book you owe it to yourself to read. Individuals who can look at the same set of facts and come up with a unique insight and analysis of them are to be celebrated.

Too bad no one in the diplomatic and intelligence bureaucracy had heard of him before 2001.

Penned by the Pointed Pundit
August 5, 2006, 10:12:35 AM ( )
2 vote PointedPundit | Mar 23, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393329682, Paperback)

The New York Times bestseller: "Historically incisive, geographically broad-reaching, and brimming with illuminating anecdotes."—Max Rodenbeck, New York Review of Books

Profiled on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, Iranian-born scholar Vali Nasr has become one of America's leading commentators on current events in the Middle East, admired and welcomed by both media and government for his "concise and coherent" analysis (Wall Street Journal). In this "smart, clear and timely" book (Washington Post), Nasr brilliantly dissects the political and theological antagonisms within Islam. He provides a unique and objective understanding of the 1,400-year bitter struggle between Shias and Sunnis, and sheds crucial light on its modern-day consequences—from the nuclear posturing of Iran's President Ahmadinejad to the recent U.S.-enabled shift toward Shia power in Iraq and Hezbollah's continued dominance in Lebanon. The paperback edition features a new foreword for 2007.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:38 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Considers the ways in which struggles between the Shia and Sunni in the Middle East will affect the region's future, offering insight into the power conflicts between Iran and Saudi Arabia for political and spiritual leadership of the Muslim world.

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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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