Saturday, November 19, 2005

A Lot Went Wrong.

Reviewing a Bernard Lewis book is not the easiest task. His long list of titles on the topic of the Middle East place him in a category all of his own.

To many who only took an interest in the region post 9/11 some of what he writes might appear pedantic or pragmatic. But I can detect little change in his style from previous works I have read by the author.

His understanding of the issues is clear. However he often revolves around details which the general or casual reader might find monotonous. A lot of background and historical relevance.

But there really is no other authority on the topic of the Middle East outside of the region itself who has dedicated so much of his time and creative energy in attempting to relate, if not the differences in cultural values, then certainly he relates the challenging path the Middle Eastern states have taken, under numerous imperial and financial influences to the often bumpy modern age.

While what he writes can lead a reader to the conclusion that there is little for western economists, business people, or average citizens to learn from Middle Eastern values, such a closed interpretation would be limited.

Lewis does not demonize and does not suggest that Middle Eastern cultures do not have anything to contribute to current world consciousness. However, what Lewis writes about current perspectives in the region allows for hope and development that might allow these cultures and peoples to live peacefully with their neighbours.

Understanding the path that led them to where they are now is a relevant exercise. Lewis helps paint that path without any attempt to terrorize the travellers.


Askinstoo said...
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Daniel Costello said...
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