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Martin Kramer's Mideast Reading List

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Martin Kramer is the editor of a blog called Sandstorm. He's also the author of the book Ivory Towers on Sand, which documented the long track record of Mideast Studies "luminaries" who are usually either egregiously wrong in their predictions or out and out apologists for terrorism. Now that Harvard is recommending Ivory Towers on Sand as the counterpart pre-reading text to Edward Said's Orientalism, wouldn't you be interested in Martin Kramer's reading list of key articles (all FREE!) that would introduce you to the Middle East and the history of Islamism? I thought so. I would add to his list two articles from The Atlantic, one Esquire article, and one discourse on movements within Islam:
[1] Bernard Lewis, The Roots of Muslim Rage. Still the best thing written on the subject, from someone whose depth of knowledge in this area is simply awe-inspiring. [2] Robert Kaplan's "The Coming Anarchy" mostly applies beyond the Mideast, in Africa, Afghanistan, possibly Central Asia. Its most likely Mideast application is actually the Palestinian Authority. As the seminal piece on failed states, however, I thought it deserved inclusion in any War on Terror-related reading list. The Brothers Judd has a very good review and discussion of the book that sprang from this article. [3] On a related note, "The Pentagon's New Map" by Thomas P.M. Barnett of the U.S. Naval War College talks about a stable world Core, and a Gap of wobbly and/or failed states where we are likely to find our future conflicts. "Disconnectedness," he says, "defines danger." These ideas extend way beyond just the Mideast (and that's good), but they are useful there too. [4] Abdal Hakim-Murad: "Islamic Spirituality: The Forgotten Revolution"

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Tracked: September 26, 2003 1:38 PM
Said Is Daid from Interrobang?!
Excerpt: I'm not one to be glad a man is dead, precisely. But somehow it seems appropriate to mark Edward Said's death by getting some sensible...



It's never too late to lift the veil....

NOW that Harvard is recommending Ivory Towers on Sand as the counterpart pre-reading text to Edward Said's Orientalism,

I think that sentence says it ALL.

So what the f were they singularly learning prior to this nice concession to an actually 'balanced' education. And I wonder what the prereqs are at Columbia still?

Well, I think this Islam BS is a threat to our National Security. Did you happen to catch "Radical Islam's 20 Point Plan To Take Over America" on the WorldNetDaily website? If not, it's posted and linked on my weblog. I found it very disturbing to say the least, but then I sent it to a friend of mine who is a counter-terrorism expert and retired SFOD-D Officer. He confirmed what I thought.

Jennifer Martinez sends

I strongly agree that Robert Kaplan's "The Coming Anarchy" should be required reading for everyone who clicked the "Comments" link for this post, and for anyone who writes about foreign policy at all.

I don't agree with everything Kaplan says, but I nevertheless recommend reading everything the man ever wrote. He's that good.

The Kaplan article is interesting but it's surely fair to note that his big-picture speculations are rather dated now; much keeps getting worse abroad but how this has to do with us looks quite different for obvious reasons. Of course Kaplan is rather depressingly naive here about Islam... But he's also naively pessimistic about America, seen at its Clintonian pre-Giuliani low point.

If I had to recommend the three best books I've read since 9/11, they would be Fouad Ajami's The Dream Palace of the Arabs, Robert Kaplan's The Coming Anarchy, and Paul Berman's Terror and Liberalism, each for different reasons. One caveat: I find Kaplan's recommendations quite worrisome. He seems to think we should trust the U.S. military, diplomatic, and intelligence agencies to do right (without public oversight) more than I'm willing to trust them. Nevertheless, I would trust them far, far more than I would trust any arm of the U.N.

Here's something on english comprehension and the Education establishment (don't forget to listen to the sound files! It's better than reading!)

I'd recommend:

"Special Providence" by Walter Russell Mead

"How to Make War" (4th edition) by James F. Dunnigan;

both are especially good for those Democrats who need to get a clue - here's a place to start finding one.

If we're recommending Atlantic articles, this one on what is involved in major, long-term military deployments such as peacekeeping is also something that those needing a clue ought to read. Especially people like Howard Dean, who hasn't the foggiest idea about the military, as he happily proclaimed on Russert's show some time back.

"The Constitution of Liberty" by Hayek.

I'm curious to know to what extent the Middle Eastern studies departments are addressing the issue of Koranic scholarship itself, given the potential explosiveness of the subject. The Atlantic did an introduction on this in 1999 which is posted in their archive.

Good reading, noted and posted above.

A penetrating insight on Islam-vs-future can be found in "Fire on the Mountaintops" by William Sears. Similarly, for what ails western civilization, "Thief in the Night" by W.Sears

Gute Reise!

For those of you who would like to read a book that is not only about terrorism, but also about the situation in Iraq, I strongly recommend "Suicide Bombers in Iraq" by Mohammed Hafez. The level to which it is an empirical work is astounding, yet it's very easy to read.

If you wanna read a good book about al-Qaeda, I recommend "The Looming Tower" by Lawrence Wright.

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