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A decade after the 9/11 attacks, this groundbreaking book takes readers deep into rebellions against both autocrats and extremists that are redefining politics, culture, and security threats across the Islamic world. The awakening involves hundreds of millions of people. And the political transformations— and tectonic changes—are only beginning.

Robin Wright, an acclaimed foreign correspondent and television commentator, has covered the region for four decades. She witnessed the full cycle, from extremism’s angry birth and globalization to the rise of new movements transforming the last bloc of countries to hold out against democracy. Now, in Rock the Casbah, she chronicles the new order being shaped by youthinspired revolts toppling leaders, clerics repudiating al Qaeda, playwrights and poets crafting messages of a counter-jihad, comedians ridiculing militancy, hip-hop rapping against guns and bombs, and women mobilizing for their own rights.

This new counter-jihad has many goals. For some, it’s about reforming the faith. For others, it’s about reforming political systems. For most, it’s about achieving basic rights. The common denominator is the rejection of venomous ideologies and suicide bombs, plane hijackings, hostage-takings, and mass violence to achieve those ends.

Wright captures a stunning moment in history, one of the region’s four key junctures—along with Iran’s revolution, Israel’s creation, and the Ottoman Empire’s collapse—in a century. The notion of a clash of civilizations is increasingly being replaced by a commonality of civilizations in the twenty-first century. But she candidly details both the possibilities and pitfalls ahead. The new counter-jihad is imaginative and defiant, but Muslim societies are also politically inexperienced and economically challenged.
Published: Simon & Schuster on Jul 19, 2011
ISBN: 9781439123065
List price: $11.99
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Outstanding and very timely book. Wright is a journalist who has reported from the Middle East since before the Iranian Revolution, and her knowledge of the region has both depth and breadth. Only someone this knowledgeable could have produced a book with this much information on the events of the Arab Spring within months, and can speak to Muslim culture as well as politics and current events.One of the most important takeaways from the book is that the Muslim world is so young, with large percentages of the population being under 30. Another is that the Muslim world and the Arabic world are no longer the same - of the five countries with the largest Muslim populations, none are ethinically Arab. Yet another is that while most Muslims have turned away from the violent extremists, they have not become secular. Many are redefining the religion to better fit the freedoms they desire, including free speech, democracy, and women's rights, but are still faithful.The first part of the book discusses pro-democracy events in Tunisia, Egypt, and Iran. The second part discusses how culture is changing and how things like poetry, hiphop music, and comedy are part of the counter-jihad movement. The third part discusses Arab Spring events in other countries, the U.S. reaction, and recomendations for future U.S. policy. Excellent and highly recommended book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book comprises several parts. The first, about 100 pages or so, summarizes the Arab Spring movements that ousted long-time rulers in Tunisia and Egypt, and is exactly that: a good recap of what happened in those countries, with glances at some if their neighbors. The second part of the book was much more interesting to me, a review of cultural and social changes going on across the Muslim world that add up to a repudiation of extremist violence. As Wright tours us through Islamic hip-hop, comedy, televangelism and more, she refutes stereotypes and outlines an emerging Islamic pop culture that will seem both familiar and strange to American readers.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The Middle East is in a shockwave. A tidal wave of youth has overturned much of the old order, fighting with words against the authoritarian regimes of the past. They do not seek a regression to radical beliefs. As America is not the Ku Klux Klan or Tim McVeigh, the Middle East is not Al Qaeda. They want peace, freedom, human rights, better living conditions.

You learn to sympathize with the uprising people. Their worries and thoughts about life become yours. The book is anecdotal and upbeat in turns, and frightening in others. Poets and rapstars and comedians and citizens fight, a counter-jihad in the cause of freedom, as countless others have died.

A necessary and enlightening book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Outstanding and very timely book. Wright is a journalist who has reported from the Middle East since before the Iranian Revolution, and her knowledge of the region has both depth and breadth. Only someone this knowledgeable could have produced a book with this much information on the events of the Arab Spring within months, and can speak to Muslim culture as well as politics and current events.One of the most important takeaways from the book is that the Muslim world is so young, with large percentages of the population being under 30. Another is that the Muslim world and the Arabic world are no longer the same - of the five countries with the largest Muslim populations, none are ethinically Arab. Yet another is that while most Muslims have turned away from the violent extremists, they have not become secular. Many are redefining the religion to better fit the freedoms they desire, including free speech, democracy, and women's rights, but are still faithful.The first part of the book discusses pro-democracy events in Tunisia, Egypt, and Iran. The second part discusses how culture is changing and how things like poetry, hiphop music, and comedy are part of the counter-jihad movement. The third part discusses Arab Spring events in other countries, the U.S. reaction, and recomendations for future U.S. policy. Excellent and highly recommended book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book comprises several parts. The first, about 100 pages or so, summarizes the Arab Spring movements that ousted long-time rulers in Tunisia and Egypt, and is exactly that: a good recap of what happened in those countries, with glances at some if their neighbors. The second part of the book was much more interesting to me, a review of cultural and social changes going on across the Muslim world that add up to a repudiation of extremist violence. As Wright tours us through Islamic hip-hop, comedy, televangelism and more, she refutes stereotypes and outlines an emerging Islamic pop culture that will seem both familiar and strange to American readers.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The Middle East is in a shockwave. A tidal wave of youth has overturned much of the old order, fighting with words against the authoritarian regimes of the past. They do not seek a regression to radical beliefs. As America is not the Ku Klux Klan or Tim McVeigh, the Middle East is not Al Qaeda. They want peace, freedom, human rights, better living conditions.

You learn to sympathize with the uprising people. Their worries and thoughts about life become yours. The book is anecdotal and upbeat in turns, and frightening in others. Poets and rapstars and comedians and citizens fight, a counter-jihad in the cause of freedom, as countless others have died.

A necessary and enlightening book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The author accurately describes the book as having "counterintuitive themes". She does a good job in trying to describe all of the different forces at play in the Middle East today. The problem is that things are changing so rapidly in the Middle East that even though the book was published this year (2011), there are already some inaccuracies.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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