This looks like a very good book. I have some favorites on the topic of recent developments in the Muslim world. I like Viorst's 1995 book 'Sandcastles' quite a lot. There is also the under-rated Warriors of the Prophet.
But this new book by Lee Smith looks quite excellent. I would very much like to read it. Also if any of you do read it please let me know your thoughts on it. Here is a review over at the CS Monitor.
But just pages into the introduction, Smith, who is the Middle East correspondent for the Weekly Standard, shatters the stereotype evoked in the jacket’s photograph by stating that, “I give no credence to the idea that the Arab-Israeli crisis is the [Middle East’s] central issue.” Just one of a number of provocative assertions, Smith wastes little time in introducing a reexamination of Middle Eastern history that calls into question even the most conventional of American and Western beliefs.
To begin with, he argues that 9/11 was not an attack on America but rather the extension of an inter-Arab fight exported to the new battleground of lower Manhattan. “Bin Ladenism is not drawn from the extremist fringe but represents the political and social norm [of the Arabic-speaking Middle East].” Smith explains these two conclusions, as he does the Middle East’s political philosophy writ large, using the “strong horse” principle.