books, sites & lectures
Here's a list of books on Islam, the Middle East, terrorism and
American foreign policy, as recommended by: Rick Shenkman, editor of
History News Network; Robert Burrowes, adjunct professor, Jackson
School at the University of Washington; Mary St. Germain, head of
the Near East section at UW libraries; and Rob Davila, Seattle Times
international wire editor.
— Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times book editor
and Middle East politics
"Islam: A Short History"
by Karen Armstrong (Modern Library, $19.95).
A helpful introduction to Islam by a world-renowned scholar on
Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?"
by John L. Esposito (Oxford University Press, $16.95) and "Political
Islam: Revolution, Radicalism or Reform," edited by
Esposito, Robert Mazur and Sibusiso Nkomo (Lynne Rienner Publishers,
Esposito's stance: Islam is "multifaceted and
heterogeneous" and actual Islamic militants are "very
small in number," Burrowes says.
and the Arab Israeli Conflict"
by Charles Smith (Palgrave,$39.95).
This book, now in its fourth edition, is considered a good basic
and Political Islam: Clash of Cultures or Clash of Interests?"
by Fawaz A. Gerges (Cambridge University Press, $18.95) and
"The Middle East: Opposing Viewpoints" by Mary E. Williams
(Greenhaven Press, $27.26).
St. Germain says the latter book is a good beginning for readers
trying to familiarize themselves with Middle East issues.
Has Ninety-Nine Names"
by Judith Miller (Touchstone, $15).
A "terrific survey of the rise of Islamic radicalism in several
countries, including Sudan and the Mideast," says Davila, who
also recommends books by Edward Said, the most articulate
intellectual advocate for Palestine.
and the Taliban
Jay Weaver of the University Book Store's General Books Department
says customers are requesting books on Afghanistan, the Taliban and
Osama bin Laden in record numbers (be patient, many titles are on
back order). Here are three:
the Whirlwind: The Taliban in Afghanistan"
by Michael Griffin (Pluto Press, $27.50).
Griffin, an investigative journalist, tells the story of Afghanistan
and the Taliban including the CIA's historic links with the sect.
New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the Future of
by Simon Reeve (Northeastern University Press, $26.95).
This book, written after the first World Trade Center attack in
1993, is by a former Sunday Times of London reporter. Published by a
small university press, it's No. 8 on Amazon's best-seller list.
Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics and the Rise of the
by Larry P. Goodson (University of Washington Press, cloth $35,
This book, just out this month, is by an associate professor of
international studies at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass. It
analyzes Afghanistan's history of the past 20 years and combines
Taliban interviews and field research with analysis.
"Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire"
by Chalmers Johnson (Owl Books, $15).
Tells how past efforts to attack terrorism and Communism "blew
up in our faces," says Shenkman.
the President's Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American
Presidency from Washington to Bush"
by Christopher Andrews (HarperPerennial, $15).
A thorough history of U.S. intelligence activities, says Shenkman.
Q & A
for Afghan Studies