The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity by Tariq Ali. Hardcover book published by Verso 2002.
Firstly, that isn’t George Bin Laden’s picture on the dust jacket. Secondly, this photo is not an indication of a humorous tone to Tariq Ali’s excellent book. I read this a few years ago and have recommended it to a number of people as I think it’s a great read and very enlightening despite being 10 years old. The only person who took my advice and read it, thanked me for the recommendation and agreed with my rather brief description (“It’s a great read”).
Tariq’s observations, despite being very one sided (the left side), on September 11 particularly in relation to the history of Islam, are excellent. The book is interspersed with personal anecdotes which only add to the readability and ease of understanding of what are difficult subjects for many of us to fully comprehend. I think it’s a good sign that I can remember specific bits from this book even though it’s been a few years since I read it.
I saw/heard Tariq talk a few years ago and was very impressed with the ease in which he addressed a large hall full of people in a very casual, and what appeared to be, unscripted manner. After being impressed not only with what he said but the way he said it, I tracked down a copy of this book and read it post-haste. I have read another book by him entitled Bush in Babylon, but I found Clash of Fundamentalisms to be the better read.
So how sellable is a book like this. Well, to be honest, I find on line sales of anything remotely topical (such as terrorism) very difficult. The reason I’ve decided to give this title a go is purely because I think “it’s a great read”. Why these sort of book are hard to sell, I don’t know… maybe this time I will be wrong.