Author Topic: Book Review: Islam Without Illusions  (Read 603 times)

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Book Review: Islam Without Illusions
« on: June 22, 2016, 02:28:26 PM »
The Orcas Island Review of Books

Hotaling, Ed, Islam Without Illusions: its past, its present, and its challenge for the future; Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, New York, 2003; preface and 205 pages, including Notes, Bibliography, and Index.

This book comes from the same treasure trove as did the previously reviewed The Arabs by David Lamb. Indeed, it’s really about the same subject, but as seen from a slightly different angle.

Hotaling, Middle-East Bureau Chief for CBS and several other news outlets, details the history of Islam, episode by episode. And then, chapter by chapter, he uses that history to explain the beliefs and behaviors of Muslims in the past, and to contrast those beliefs and behaviors against what we see in Islam today.
While The Arabs presented a people and their cultures to us from their own point of view, Islam Without Illusions analyzes the same people and cultures from ours. Thus, reading these two books in sequence is a very useful exercise.

In particular, Hotaling does a better job than Lamb did, of explaining the fear that radical, “fundamentalist” Islam engenders in the people who live with the movement in their midst. Thus he makes clearer the reasons for their silence and their acquiescence, and for even their seeming support, of a movement that most of them hate.

Hotaling is not as accomplished a thinker or a writer as Lamb was. His essays skip around a lot, and sometimes make the reader work to gather the information he presents. Nevertheless, Hotaling’s book is entertaining, and, I think, worth the slight extra effort.
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