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Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam
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Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  191 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
The late twentieth century has witnessed the emergence of an unexpected and extraordinary phenomenon: Islamist political movements. Beginning in the early 1970s, militants revolted against the regimes in power throughout the Muslim world and exacerbated political conflicts everywhere. Their jihad, or Holy Struggle, aimed to establish a global Islamic state based solely on ...more
Paperback, 454 pages
Published 2002 by Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (first published 2000)
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Jan 02, 2016 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Kepel provides a panoramic account of various incarnations of "political Islam" across the Arab and North African world outlining how and why events have unfolded as they did. At the heart of his analysis are two main insights:

1) Only when Islamist movements can unite the "devout bourgeoisie", the young urban poor (the "disinherited ones") and the religious clerics can they achieve success. Such an outcome is difficult to achieve given the tension inherent between these different groups though o
An excellent history of Political Islam. After reading Olivier Roy on the subject I had a good footing in the thinking and philosophical development of Political Islam, but was looking for a more detailed history of the movement, especially in terms of how it evolved and played out in very diverse regions. Kepel provides just that kind of detail. I recommend both this and Roy's "The Failure of Political Islam" and think they dovetail together very well. I'd love to see an updated edition of Kepe ...more
Sep 08, 2015 Julián rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Es un obra monumental. El autor se ha dedicado a leer, estudiar y documentar todos los movimientos islamistas de casi todo el mundo. Analiza por épocas estos movimientos en cada país o región, con especial hincapié en países donde han prosperado: Irán, Afganistán, Egipto, Arabia Saudí, Argelia, Sudán, Turquía…

La tesis del autor puede resumirse en lo siguiente: tras el abandono del arabismo, del socialismo y de otros ismos, llegó un momento de esplendor para el islamismo como solución para todos
May 26, 2012 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly detailed and wide-ranging analysis of the rise and (in the author's opinion) fall of militant Islamism throughout the twentieth century. From Algeria to Malaysia, in Palestine and Sudan, Kepel tracks the emergence of Islamism as colonial empires began to crumble, how and where they were able to gain control of governments, and how and why they failed (often spectacularly and bloodily). My biggest complaint, and this isn't really the author's fault, is that the book only goes up to ...more
Max Osini
Jul 12, 2014 Max Osini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Libro fondamentale per capire l'islam politico. Ancor più impressionante pensare che è stato scritto prima del 2001.
Joe Donohue
Feb 17, 2016 Joe Donohue rated it really liked it
the contradictions of Islamism
Nov 04, 2007 Jared rated it it was amazing
The French title sums this book up better then the English: "Jihad, the rise and decline of radical Islam". Kepel details the rise and fall of violent political Islam across the Middle East. His essential point is that violent groups, while representing a valid expression from the populace of change and something different, burns out their popular support through violent activity.
Jan 08, 2010 Katie rated it liked it
Shelves: class-readings
I found it hard to track exactly what Kepel was saying - he tended to summarize, and then go back in detail. I would have preferred a more narrative approach. Overall, it does provide background on jihadi groups, but I think that there are better options out there.
Feb 17, 2007 Jon rated it really liked it
Good overall history of the social, economic, and political factors since WWII that gave rise to political Islam from Europe to Indonesia. Only one problem: he thinks Islamism peaked with the Afghan jihad and is now on its way out...
Nov 11, 2009 Jim rated it liked it
Thoroughly researched, but somewhat dry and confusing. Also dated (published just after 9/11 which seems to have been woven in as an afterthought) and full of (sadly) overblown predictions of the demise of militant Islam.
Sep 28, 2008 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting read about Islamists and how they developed. Very well written and readable. However, he is French and that sometimes shows. It is probably one of the most respected works on the subject.
Feb 28, 2009 Joel rated it liked it
Informative, but it seemed to offer suggestions based on assumptions and not on facts - specifically regarding the decline of islamist politics.
Mar 14, 2007 Ryan rated it really liked it
Also, an extremely dense book but covered in excruciating detail what he believes was the rise and what was the fall of reactionaly jihadists.
Dec 23, 2008 Cathy rated it it was ok
A bit dry and technical...did not find it as illuminating as I'd hoped on today's situation.
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A French scholar and analyst of the Islamic and the Arab world. He has written works on Radical Islam including Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam. He was the Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs for 2009-10 at LSE IDEAS (Centre for Diplomacy & Strategy, at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Professor Kepel has previously been a visiting professor at Col
More about Gilles Kepel...

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