cover image Holy Wars: The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism

Holy Wars: The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism

Dilip Hiro, Author Routledge $42 (334p) ISBN 978-0-415-90207-6

Journalist Hiro, an authority on Islamic affairs ( Iran Under the Ayatollahs ), effectively delineates the cycles and schisms within Islam and their considerable impact on contemporary events. ``Revival and reform have been recurring phenomena in Islamic history,'' he argues, and his most compelling chapters show how these currents have manifested themselves in different cultures and regions. He carefully contrasts the distinctive development of religious and political values in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan, maintaining an objective stance towards the diversity among Moslem nations. Historical background on the Ottoman Empire and the consequences of British colonialism is necessarily condensed so that the modern evolution of the Middle East can take center stage. As current as the daily newspaper (the epilogue covers Iran's death threat against Salman Rushdie), this book will be a welcome companion for those watching Islam's struggle for balance between authenticity and modernity, which now affects us all. (Nov.)