Rock the Casbah
Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World
By Robin Wright
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781439103166, 320pp.)
Publication Date: July 19, 2011
A decade after the 9/11 attacks, this groundbreaking book by a preeminent reporter takes readers deep into the struggle within the Muslim world where a growing movement defies and challenges extremism and repudiates Osama bin Laden, his deviant doctrine, and his violent disciples.
Robin Wright, an acclaimed foreign correspondent and television commentator, has witnessed the angry birth, violent rise, and globalization of Islamic militancy for almost four decades. In her recent reporting, she discovers a stunning new trend spreading within the Muslim world—the rejection of Islamic extremists. This is a historic evolution, slow to take off but now reaching critical mass. This trend is increasingly visible as clerics publicly repudiate Osama bin Laden, Muslim comedians ridicule militancy altogether, young Muslims rap against guns and bombs, women scholars launch liberation movements using the Koran, Pakistani villagers resist Taliban intrusions, and former Egyptian jihadis debate and then denounce violence.
This new jihad, which Wright describes in its many manifestations, has various goals. For some Muslims, it’s about reforming the faith. For others, it’s about reforming political systems. For all, it is about achieving basic rights—on their own terms, not Western ones. What is at its heart is the rejection of venomous ideologies, suicide bombs, plane hijackings, hostage-takings, and mass violence.
Muslims, Wright demonstrates, are doing what the West cannot—confronting extremism on its own terms and rescuing the faith from a virulent minority and changing history.
Robin Wright has reported from more than a 140 countries on six continents for The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, the International Herald Tribune, and others and is a frequent television commentator on foreign affairs. Her books include Rock the Casbah, Dreams and Shadows, The Last Great Revolution, Sacred Rage, and Flashpoints.
Syria is just one of the many countries across the Arab world where citizens have taken to the streets for change, often at great cost to themselves. A book out this coming week looks at what may be roiling in the Middle East, from Tunisia to Tehran. It's called Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World. Host Scott Simon speaks with journalist and foreign policy analyst Robin Wright about her book. More at NPR.org
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Praise for Rock the Casbah
“[Wright] provides invaluable context for what she rightly terms ‘the epic convulsion across the Islamic world’ by listening to voices we don't usually hear....Anyone seeking deeper understanding of the Arab Spring needs to read Wright's formidably well-informed book ….Wright's richly textured portrait of ancient cultures in the throes of wrenching but liberating transformation makes it quite clear that Muslims themselves will decide their future.”
— Los Angeles Times
“…Wright is an expert on the subject and this book is an accessible and riveting account for readers looking to learn more about the post-9/11 Islamic world.”
“…Wright is one of the most capable observers of the Middle East….her chronicles of counter-jihad, anti-militancy, and women's mobilization are a timely contribution.”
Praise for Robin Wright’s
Dreams and Shadows
“Wright has long been one of the best-informed American journalists covering the Middle East, and her reputation is born out here. . . . Her book will be essential reading for anybody who wants to know where it is heading.”
--The New York Times Book Review
“Only Wright could have written Dreams and Shadows because only Wright has traveled so widely, interviewed such diverse leaders, and brought so much wisdom to analyzing the region’s many-sided puzzles. This volume, full of mesmerizing detail and large truths, sets a new standard for scholarship on the modern Middle East.”
--Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State
“If there is such a thing as a pinnacle in the landscape of international journalism, Robin Wright surely stands atop it.”
--The New York Review of Books
“Robin Wright is well aware of the complexities, paradoxes and the seemingly insurmountable dilemmas facing the Middle East today. She reminds us that in facing these challenges we need not resort to military force and violence or resign ourselves to compromise with extremism and tyranny.”
-- Azar Nafisi, author Reading Lolita in Tehran
“The best of all possible worlds: An old hand guides us through the changes in the post-9/11 Middle East, and is able to sort out in a sober, smart way what is really going on.”
--Thomas Ricks, author Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq