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Engaging the Muslim World


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Table of Contents

Introduction * Chapter 1: The Struggle for Islamic Oil * Chapter 2: Muslim Activism, Muslim Radicalism: Telling the Two Apart * Chapter 3: The Wahhabi Myth * Chapter 4: Iraq and Islamophobia: How fearmongering got up a war and kept it going * Chapter 5: Pakistan and Afghanistan Beyond the Taliban * Chapter 6: Ayatollahs and Caviar: The Iranian Challenge * Conclusion

About the Author

Juan Cole, internationally respected historian and celebrated blogger at Informed Comment, is the Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written numerous books, including Sacred Space and Holy War and Napoleon's Egypt. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Please visit


"Cole has delivered an important book that members of the administration would be wise to read en route to the Middle East." - The American Prospect "[A] balanced and effective antidote to oversimplified Western views of Islam... manages to prick western misconceptions without taking extremist movements entirely at their own estimation." - The Economist "[Cole] brings a constructive addition to public discourse." - Publishers Weekly "Intelligent, clear and erudite. This is a timely and incisive retrospective of the Bush administration's calamitous encounter with the Muslim World by one of the most noted scholars of the subject. Cole looks deep into what went wrong to show the way forward to a new engagement of the Muslim World." - Vali Nasr, bestselling author of The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future "Juan Cole, distinguished specialist on the Muslim world, delivers his most comprehensive and erudite commentary to date - covering imperialism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, American oil politics, radical Islam and Middle Eastern terrorism. Engaging the Muslim World is the book every educated American should read." - Chalmers Johnson, bestselling author of Nemesis and The Blowback Trilogy "Engaging the Muslim World is a MUST read, the right book at the right time for anyone who wants to understand 'What went wrong, why, and where do we go from here.' Juan Cole is uniquely qualified to provide a critical, incisive, provocative analysis and commentary that will be welcomed by experts, policymakers and concerned citizens." - John L. Esposito, Professor of religion& International Affairs, Georgetown University and bestselling author of Who Speaks for Islam? and What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam "Cole provides a comprehensive alternative analysis of the current situation in the Muslim world and reveals how new U.S. policies might succeed in bringing peace where wars now rage. He proves the key role of oil interests in American foreign policy and demonstrates how incorrect or exaggerated ideas now prevalent in the U.S. are about the intrinsic militancy of Islam, and the aggressiveness of Iran. Everyone should read and ponder the facts he presents and the solutions he proposes." - Nikki Keddie, Professor Emerita of History, UCLA and author of Modern Iran and Women in the Middle East "Juan Cole's depth and breath of knowledge on the Middle East has made him the most prescient analyst of the region's politics. It might infuriate the neocons who are proven wrong again and again, but Cole's insight is invaluable to anyone interested in the truth." - Markos Moulitsas, DailyKos "A well-reasoned, useful vision for Western-Muslim relations." - Kirkus "A leading American expert on the Islamic world, seeks to dispel many of the persistent myths about Islam and the Middle East. Cole convincingly demonstrates why one should not confuse Muslim activism with hidebound fundamentalism. The chapter dealing with Iran is particularly informative and evenhanded, and the analysis of myriad issues in U.S.-Iran relations is a welcome antidote to the barrage of alarmist commentaries on Iran in much of the U.S. press. This readable and intelligent book is a must read for policymakers and the informed public. - Library Journal, starred review "Juan Cole's 'Engaging the Muslim World' maps those fault lines, and one can only wish Bush had mulled over such material before the misadventures of the post-9/11 era began. Like Lawrence Wright's remarkable 'Looming Tower', published almost three years ago, this field guide to the politics of modern Islam traces the history of the different movements, whose violent offshoots are still morphing into new forms." - New York Times Book Review "The blog I turn to for insight into Middle East news is often Professor Juan Cole's, because he's smart, well-informed and sensible - in other words, I often agree with his take." - Nicholas Kristof, New York Times "The Obama administration, as it seeks to correct a decade of self-fulfilling phobias, will find no better guide than this nuanced, clear-headed, visionary book." - The Huffington Post "I cannot improve on Juan Cole's thorough and excellent debunking of the results [of the Iranian Presidential Election]." - Laura Secor, The New Yorker "Provocative and sweeping ... Of the three books, Cole's is the most critically rigorous and empirically informed. Agree or disagree, one cannot ignore cole's historically and sociologically driven analysis and moral courage." - Fawaz Gerges, National Interest "Cole has written a gripping, accessible and elegant book. One of its great strengths is its weaving together a wealth of data into compelling historical vignettes and anecdotes. The author is an excellent storyteller and this book is a pleasurable and entertaining read." - Ziad Fahmy, H-Levant

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