Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Shia Revival

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

I'm reading The Shia Revival by Vali Nasr and at about 140 pages in I'm hooked. I got the book from my brother for my birthday the other night and I read over hundred pages of it today. Nazri's book is a well balanced blend of popular history, insightful analysis and colorful anecdotes. Above all, it is well and thoughtfully written.

The thesis of Nasr's book revolves around the millennium and a half conflict between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam and how that conflict continues to shape events in the Muslim world today. Essentially, Nasr argues that the war in Iraq has revitalized the sectarian antagonism between the two branches of Islam and that this renewed internecine feud will play a leading role in shaping the Muslim world now and in future.

This book is an excellent read for a general audience and anyone interested in getting a better understanding of the forces at work in the Islamic world will find this book fascinating. Anyone interested in the future of the world will find it fascinating, for that matter.

1 comment:

James said...

Another book worth a look, but with a decidely more academic bent, is Ervand Abrahamian's "Khomeinism." I wish I had read Nasr's book before attempting it though!