9780753816752

What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East

Lewis, Bernard

ISBN 10: 075381675X / 0-7538-1675-X
ISBN 13: 9780753816752
Publisher: Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
For many centuries, Islam was the world's greatest, most open, most enlightened, most creative, most powerful civilisation. And then everything changed, as the previously despised West won victory after victory, first on the battlefield and in the marketplace, then in almost every aspect of public and even private life. Bernard Lewis examines the anguished reaction of the Islamic world as it tried to understand why things had changed, and he provides a fascinating portrait of a culture in turmoil. Some Middle Easterners asked not 'who did this to us?' but 'where did we go wrong?'; while others fastened blame on a series of scapegoats, both internal and external - and the results are very much with us today.

Review:
Bernard Lewis is the West's greatest historian and interpreter of the Near East. Books such as The Middle East and The Arabs in History are required reading for anybody who hopes to understand the region and its people. Now Lewis offers What Went Wrong?, a concise and timely survey of how Islamic civilization fell from worldwide leadership in almost every frontier of human knowledge five or six centuries ago to a "poor, weak, and ignorant" backwater that is today dominated by "shabby tyrannies ... modern only in their apparatus of repression and terror." He offers no easy answers, but does provide an engaging chronicle of the Arab encounter with Europe in all its military, economic, and cultural dimensions. The most dramatic reversal, he says, may have occurred in the sciences: "Those who had been disciples now became teachers; those who had been masters became pupils, often reluctant and resentful pupils." Today's Arab governments have blamed their plight on any number of external culprits, from Western imperialism to the Jews. Lewis believes they must instead commit to putting their own houses in order: "If the peoples of Middle East continue on their present path, the suicide bomber may become a metaphor for the whole region, and there will be no escape from a downward spiral of hate and spite, rage and self-pity, [and] poverty and oppression." Anybody who wants to understand the historical backdrop to September 11 would do well to look for it on these pages. --John Miller

Review

Review:
"Only a scholar of Bernard Lewis's quality could produce the sweep and depth of this fascinating analysis. He gives meaning to history, and illumination and challenge to the question he poses. He brings a clear and lively style to this beautifully written book."--George P. Shultz

"A compelling book. One of our most distinguished historians throws a flood-light on that cruel divide between the West and the societies of Islam. Learned and urgent at the same time."--Fouad Ajami, The Johns Hopkins University

"Muslim loss of civilizational leadership and retreat from modernity is at the center of global history over the last five hundred years and remains at this very time a major factor in international conflicts and diplomatic quarrels. What went wrong? Indeed. Muslims often have the feeling that history has somehow betrayed them, and on no comparable issue is the historian's potential contribution more important--the more so because the subject is plagued by ideological commitments, partisan blather, and the constraints of political correctness. People have shunned the topic for all the wrong reasons. All the more reason to be grateful for Bernard Lewis's interventions. No one knows better the languages and motivations of the players, and no one is more reliable in the objectivity of his judgments."--David Landes, Harvard University

From the Back Cover

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Book Description: Orion Publishing Co, United Kingdom, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 192 x 128 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. For many centuries, Islam was the world s greatest, most open, most enlightened, most creative, most powerful civilisation. And then everything changed, as the previously despised West won victory after victory, first on the battlefield and in the marketplace, then in almost every aspect of public and even private life. Bernard Lewis examines the anguished reaction of the Islamic world as it tried to understand why things had changed, and he provides a fascinating portrait of a culture in turmoil. Some Middle Easterners asked not who did this to us? but where did we go wrong? ; while others fastened blame on a series of scapegoats, both internal and external - and the results are very much with us today. Bookseller Inventory # AA29780753816752

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Book Description: Orion Publishing Co, United Kingdom, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 192 x 128 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. For many centuries, Islam was the world s greatest, most open, most enlightened, most creative, most powerful civilisation. And then everything changed, as the previously despised West won victory after victory, first on the battlefield and in the marketplace, then in almost every aspect of public and even private life. Bernard Lewis examines the anguished reaction of the Islamic world as it tried to understand why things had changed, and he provides a fascinating portrait of a culture in turmoil. Some Middle Easterners asked not who did this to us? but where did we go wrong? ; while others fastened blame on a series of scapegoats, both internal and external - and the results are very much with us today. Bookseller Inventory # AA29780753816752

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