Archives for 2008

African Politics in Comparative Perspective

In African Politics in Comparative Perspective respected veteran Africanist Goran Hyden tackles those perennial vexing questions: What is wrong with modern African states? Can they be fixed? And if so, how? The questions are easy to pose and incredibly difficult to answer. But in this synthetic work pulling together decades worth of scholarship, especiall...    read more 

The Kurds Ascending

What is to become of Iraq's Kurds in light of recent difficulties in forming a central Iraqi government on which all ethnic groups can agree? How is Turkey's pursuit of joining the EU affecting the future of its Kurds? According to Michael Gunter, we are witnessing an unprecedented ascension of the Kurds in the Middle East. Gunter, a professor of political ...    read more 

Over a Barrel: Breaking Big Oil’s Grip on Our Future

In psychological terms, an addiction is the compulsive use of a substance despite potentially adverse consequences with a need for an increased amount of the substance over time. But the United States’ predicament concerning our reliance on oil and other fossil fuels is more than just an addiction. It is a form of national assisted suicide—both environme...    read more 

Pens and Swords: How the American Mainstream Media Report the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

While there are numerous books analyzing reporting about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the hard reality is that many of these books lack in scholarship and objectivity. One of the latest entries in the field, Pens and Swords: How the American Mainstream Media Report the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, unfortunately does little to change this trend. In ...    read more 

Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad

“The blind leading the blind.” This phrase could sum up the counterterrorism policies of large swaths of the United States government throughout the late 1980s and the 1990s, including the White House, the State Department, the National Security Council, and even the FBI. With the first bombing of the World Trade Center in February of 1993, however, a co...    read more 

Islamic Society and State Power in Senegal: Disciples and Citizens in Fatick

This exemplary, nuanced case study examines much more than the interaction between Islam and the contemporary African state of Senegal. Villalón demonstrates how the two legs of a three-legged vessel are mediated by and for the third element, groups of people in Senegal in general, and by groups of people in the small community of Fatick in particular. Toge...    read more 

Culture and Conflict in the Middle East

While serving with the United States Army in Iraq, this reviewer shared an insightful conversation with two local women who suggested that I stay in the country after my tour of duty ended. “Yet where would I live?” I asked. “With us, you can join the al-Joubouri tribe,” said the first woman. “No, live with us, the al-Tikritis,” insisted the seco...    read more 

The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque: Christians and Muslims in the World of Islam

Sidney H. Griffith describes this book as "a general introduction" to the study of "Christian intellectual life in the caliphate." Griffith's treatment of the Christian apologetic literature of this period seeks to be the comprehensive product of twenty-five years of research and is a testament to his scholarly industry. He explains that "[t]he title of the ...    read more 

Soldiers at Peace: Veterans and Society After the Civil War in Mozambique

With an ever-growing number of African countries being ravaged by civil war and facing the difficult challenges of reintegrating combatants in post-conflict societies, Jessica Schafer’s book, Soldiers at Peace: Veterans and Society After the Civil War in Mozambique, about the experiences of veterans in Mozambique, is an important and relevant case study. ...    read more 

Koran, Kalashnikov, and Laptop: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan

The famous military theoretician, Carl von Clausewitz, remarked that war is never final. “The defeated … often considers the outcome merely as a transitory evil, for which a remedy may still be found in political conditions at some later date.” Soon after its rapid defeat in the Fall of 2001, many of the Taliban fled to Pakistan while others melted bac...    read more