New Books Network

Laury Silvers, “A Soaring Minaret: Abu Bakr al-Wasiti and the Rise of Baghdadi Sufism” (SUNY Press, 2010)
A broad portrait of early Islamic mysticism is fairly well-know. However, there are only a few key figures that have been explored in great detail and their activities shape how we understand this early history of Sufism. Laury Silvers, Professor of Religion at the University of Toronto, makes a significant... Read More
Carool Kersten, “Cosmopolitans and Heretics: New Muslim Intellectuals and the Study of Islam” (Columbia University Press, 2011)
Often when we read about new Muslim intellectuals we are offered a presentation of their politicized Islamic teachings and radical interpretations of theology, or Western readings that nominally reflect the Islamic tradition. We are rarely introduced to critical Muslim thinkers who neither abandon their Islamic civilizational heritage nor adopt, wholesale,... Read More
Charles Townshend, “Desert Hell: The British Invasion of Mesopotamia” (Harvard University Press, 2011)
An earlier author described the British invasion of Mesopotamia in 1914 as “The Neglected War.” It no longer deserves that title thanks to the brilliant treatment of the subject by Professor Charles Townshend (University of Keele). His Desert Hell: The British Invasion of Mesopotamia (Harvard University Press, 2011) describes in... Read More
Greg Myre and Jennifer Griffin, “This Burning Land: Lessons from the Front Lines of the Transformed Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” (Wiley, 2011)
In their new book, This Burning Land: Lessons from the Front Lines of the Transformed Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), the husband and wife team of Greg Myre and Jennifer Griffin recount their experiences working as reporters in Jerusalem during the eventful last decade. Myre, the editor of NPR’s “Morning Edition,”... Read More
Reuel Marc Gerecht, “The Wave: Man, God, and the Ballot Box in the Middle East” (Hoover Institution Press, 2011)
In his new book The Wave: Man, God, and the Ballot Box in the Middle East (Hoover Institution Press, 2011), Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, looks at the push for democracy in the Middle East and suggests that Americans need to back... Read More
Michael A. Reynolds, “Shattering Empires: The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, 1908-1918” (Cambridge UP, 2011)
Most of us live in a world of nations. If you were born and live in the Republic of X, then you probably speak X-ian, are a citizen of X, and would gladly fight and die for your X-ian brothers and sisters. If, however, you were born and live in... Read More
Giancarlo Casale, “The Ottoman Age of Exploration” (Oxford UP, 2010)
You’ve probably heard of the “Age of Exploration.” You know, Henry the Navigator, Vasco da Gama, Columbus, etc., etc. But actually that was the European Age of Exploration (and really it wasn’t even that, because the people who lived in what we now call “Europe” didn’t think of themselves as... Read More
W. Taylor Fain, “American Ascendance and British Retreat in the Persian Gulf Region” (Palgrave-McMillan, 2008)
If you ask most Americans when the U.S. became heavily involved in the Persian Gulf, they might cite the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1981 or, more probably, the First Gulf War of 1990. Of course the roots of American entanglement in the region run much deeper, as W. Taylor Fain... Read More
Lesley Hazleton, “After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split” (Doubleday, 2009)
Sometimes a shallow explanation, the kind you read in newspapers and hear on television, is enough. “The home team was beaten at the buzzer” is probably all you need to know. Sometimes, however, it’s not. The intermittent conflict between the Shias and Sunnis in Iraq (and elsewhere) provides a good... Read More