By Steven Richter Beginning with the title and continuing through the final pages, James C. Scott’s Against the Grain seeks to subvert the historical narrative of inevitable progress toward civilization that has been dominant for millennia. Instead of framing agriculture as a driver of enlightened civilization, he conceives of it as a social and ecological […]
By Cynthia Talbot The world’s attention was captured in 2012 by the disaster that befell the Costa Concordia, a cruise ship that ran aground off the coast of Italy leading to 32 deaths. This shipwreck is the most recent one covered in A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks, whose expansive gaze covers much of […]
by David Rahimi Starting with the encounter with European colonialism and modernity in the eighteenth century, Muslims increasingly began to worry that Islam was beset by existential crises as Muslim countries slowly fell under colonial domination. Some thought Islam had stagnated and made Muslims weak; others said true Islam already had the answers to modernity. […]
Those seeking a more balanced assessment of Lawrence would do well to turn to a third source: John Mack’s psychological biography of Lawrence, A Prince of Our Disorder (1976).
Dan Ephron interweaves two narratives: the story of Yitzhak Rabin’s efforts toward building a sustainable peace with the Palestinians and the story of Yigal Amir, whose interpretation of Jewish law and radical conservatism led him to plan and carry out the killing of a prime minister.
It is a pleasure to read a full account of the British side of the American Revolution. In Andrew O’Shaughnessy’s “The Men Who Lost America,” we see the beginning of the story through the eyes of George III, who was still physically strong and mentally robust.
Open a news website these days and there’s likely be a story about violence in the Middle East. There’s a good chance that the article will refer to extremist Islamists, possibly even mentioning the rising tide of anti-Western sentiment in the Middle East more broadly. Among academics, pundits, and politicians there is no shortage of opinion on why this state of affairs exists.
Want to learn more about the monuments, beliefs, and lives of medieval Islam? Read on.
This book recounts a fascinating journey undertaken by an Iranian intellectual to an Israel that existed primarily in the author’s mind. The kind of utopia Al-e Ahmad saw would strike many Israelis as odd.
Four excellent books about Islam in modern western politics and history.