Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Shia Revival” as Want to Read:
Shia Revival
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Shia Revival

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,405 ratings  ·  114 reviews
The Shia Revival is a historical account of sectarian conflicts in the Muslim world, and how the future rests in finding a peaceful solution to the ancient rivalries between the Shias and the Sunnis. Nasr provides an understanding of this 1,400-year bitter struggle between the two sects - tracing its roots from the succession of the Prophet Muhammad - forcing us to differe ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc. (first published 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Shia Revival, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Shia Revival

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Julian Haigh
This is obviously from the Shia perspective, but in my limited-knowledge opinion (which I'd argue we all speak from) I'd say calling Khomeini the Sunnification of Shiism went a little far. Basically, the author appeared to back-peddle from his established opinion that Shia was the democratic and modernist alternative to a backward, fundamentalist Sunniism. Of course Khomeini is Shia and there was a Safavid empire based in Iran - but he tries to take what would be scary to the west and label it S ...more
Valerie
Nov 17, 2008 Valerie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone confused about Islam & current ME political conflicts
The first chapter of this book is the single best explanation I have ever seen explaining the distinction between Shias and Sunnis. Nasr has performed a valuable service in writing this book. Most explanations reduce the Shia/Sunni distinction to a mere theological point, rendering both sides foolish in the telling. Nasr explains the economic, political, and often ethnic differences that gave rise to such passionately held ideological differences. And he does so in an easy-to-read, captivating a ...more
Khairul H.
Oct 24, 2007 Khairul H. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in current affairs
Shelves: politics, religion
Should be read both by (Sunnah) Muslims and non-Muslims. Let's face it, what do we know about the Shia Muslims? Next to nothing, most probably. And yet we want to discuss about them and some of us want to bomb them to the stone age. Read. Understand. Chill out.
John
In spite of its obviously pro-Shia bias, which many other readers have also noted, this is a superb book; I cannot imagine a better introduction to the current sectarian religious strife in the Middle East and Central Asia, nor to the general theological as well as political differences between Shia and Sunni believers. In fact, it's hard to imagine a better introduction to the history and theology of Islam, period. Nasr achieves what I think I most admire in a writer of this sort of study, mana ...more
Ben
Jun 10, 2008 Ben rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ben by: Max Gasteen
This book basically has two parts and both are very informative. The first part is a sort of history or introduction to the Shias, who they are, and how they fit in the middle east vis-a-vis the Sunnis. The second part of the book is less historical, more of an analysis of the current situation along with thoughts on how the middle east is shaping up and what the rise of the Shias (and, the rise of Iran's influence - read influence, not domination or control) could do to change the region.

It app
...more
Mustafa
Interesting central hypothesis about how the position of Shiites within the Muslim world is changing, but wasn't overly impressed with his argument. Too much of it felt a bit anecdotal.
Nura Yusof
The sectarian conflict that has taken and is taking place in the Middle East is certainly not what the Prophet had in mind in propagating Islam, in my opinion.

Are the Shia, Muslims? Are the Sunnis right? Honestly, no one knows. Instead, we have both groups, each trying to out-shout each other, saying that theirs is the true Islam. And most often, by violent means.

What a waste of time and resources. They are sitting on huge deposits of oil which could greatly help them build their countries and
...more
Sjonni
"The Shia Revival" is an in-depth exposé of the troubled relationship between the two major Islamic denominations and explores the consequences on neighbouring regimes of the advent of a majority Shia rule in Iraq while, in Iran, the impetus and meaning of the Revolution further wane.

Written in a tone that communicates Shia sensibilites with balance and depth, this book addresses head on the divide that splits Islam in two arch-rival factions. The Western reader (moi, in this case), being usuall
...more
Martin
This book helped me understand fundamental differences between Shia and Sunni approaches to the world. At one point the author offered the analogy of Catholic vs Protestant in Northern Ireland to describe the often uneasy co-existence of the two sects, where nationalism and religion get intertwined. I finally understood the significance of the Twelfth Imam and how that colors one's perspective and expectations of the world. I'm glad that I stuck with the book, especially as it explained much of ...more
Fernando
There are a few paradigms to explain regional violence in the Middle East. The Sunni - Shia divide is one of them, also known as "civil war within Islam". This book is probably the best articulation of that paradigm, starting from the origins of the split to current events. The author traces upheavals in the region to readjustments of political and social trends between these two main branches of Islam.

As many pointed out, it's a one sided analysis from the Shia perspective. I don't think it is
...more
Stephanie Bluth
I don't want to speak ill of Vali Nasr and I hope this review doesn't come off like I am. I've never met him, but I know of him and he seems much loved and respected. That being said, I kind of really hated this book. I think what happened is you have a man who knows SO MUCH about this and tried to write a book for a general audience and then handed the transcript off to an editor who didn't really get it and didn't want to come across as stupid, so they gave the green light to have it published ...more
Bob Duke
Very necessary reading. The book was written before the rise of the Islamic state but foresaw the deepening conflict between Shia and Sunni. In the complexities of the Middle East it appears that post Khomeini Shia Iran may be the best force for calming this troubled area. The recent proposed agreement between Washington and Tehran in regard to nuclear weapons is a positive manifestation of this. The danger to this agreement are the hard liners in Iran and the posturing Republicans in the US. Wh ...more
Mehwish Mughal
What I liked:
- Accessible narrative
- Engaging

What I did not like:
- Not just biased towards Shia-Islam but also towards one particular sect within Shi'ism (12 Imams)
- Oversimplification of issues.
- At times it felt like the author was forcing the entire Middle Eastern issues to fit into the Shia-Sunni conflict box


I think in order to understand the Shia-Sunni split within the historical framework with minimum subjectivity, the best book around is Shi'ite Islam by Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn T
...more
Daniel
Nasr's decision to go the unscholarly route is disappointing, and he makes some embellishments here and there to make his point. However, his prediction that the Sunni Shia conflict would become front and center in the Middle East seems to have come true, and he explains well the central role that the Iran-Gulf Arab conflict has taken in perpetuating this schism in Islam. However, his argument that Shi'ism would overtake Sunnism in its influence with the U.S. is pretty far fetched. It's a good r ...more
Mehdi
The conflict between Shia and Sunni is real no matter how one pretend to be just a secular Muslim. Shiite muslims have been oppressed for centuries by Sunnis. Moreover Sunnis are more attractive to radical Islam than of a Shia. It's funny how some people accuse Asad in Syria of being a SHIA regime and a dictator who kill and suppressed SUNNI majority but these blind hypocrites didnt lift a finger when Saddam was killing SHIAS by thousand and millions and used chemical weapons upon them in SHIA m ...more
Steven Peterson
This is an accessible and useful volume for those who want to know more about what is at stake with the Shia versus Sunni disputes. At the outset, the author, Vali Nasr, notes that (page 20): "The Shia-Sunni conflict is at once a struggle for the soul of Islam. . .and a manifestation of the kind of tribal wars of ethnicities and identities, so seemingly archaic at times, yet so surprisingly vital, with which humanity has become wearily familiar."

The volume begins with a description of the separ
...more
Ron
This is an illuminating perspective on current Middle East politics by an Iranian-born and U.S. educated writer, who has credentials as a member of the faculty at the Naval Postgraduate School and associate chair of research at the Department of National Security Affairs. The overall argument of his book is that the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the war in Iraq have set in motion the reversal of an age-old balance of power between Sunni and Shia Muslims in the Middle East. After a millennium or ...more
Alif Fikri
Kalau seorang editor New York Times mengatakan buku ini memiliki plot yang cepat, mengikat, dan menegangkan, saya rasa itu bukanlah suatu hal yang berlebihan.

Pertama kali saya lihat buku ini awalnya selain karena judul bukunya adalah karena nama "Nasr" memiliki tempat tersendiri. Setelah membaca sinopsisnya, saya langsung mencari tahu siapa "Nasr" yang satu ini. Ternyata dugaan saya benar, singa melahirkan singa. Nasr di sini adalah putra seorang intelektual ternama dari Iran, Seyyed Hussein Na
...more
Ed
Dealing with the Middle East without understanding the very basic differences between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam would be like trying to bring peace to Northern Ireland while remaining ignorant of the divisions between Protestant and Catholic Christians.

Vali Nasr writes very well. His brief survey of the theological, geographic and class based differences between the two major sources of Islamic thought is clear and (it seems) very precise.

This book will go a long way in helping one
...more
A
Just a warning: I have mixed feelings about this book and they come in difficult-to-articulate forms, so this review is going to be a mess.

First, I do not think I was the target audience for this book. I was expecting a more accessible overview of the Sunnis-Shia conflict, while the author was expecting his readers to come in with a fair bit of knowledge already (at least it felt that way to me). However, even this observation of mine is a bit complicated by the fact that the author seems to os
...more
Jamie Rinaldi
Jul 12, 2007 Jamie Rinaldi rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone trying to understand the current conflict in the Islamic world
Over the last three years, I think we've all become painful aware of the sectarian struggle between Shia and Sunni Muslims in Iraq. Although the political and armed struggle in Iraq probably represents the most intense manifestation of the Shia/Sunni struggle, this conflicts plays out in other Arab regions to significant effect - it was the conflict between the Sunni PLO and the Shias in southern Lebanon in the late 1970's and early 1980's that led to the foundation of the Hezbollah as a means f ...more
Jon
Nasr falls on the sectarian side of the debate over how the contemporary and future Middle East will organize itself. Unlike scholars such as Moshe Ma'oz--who argue that local and regional balances of power will define the Middle East's power struggles and hotspots--Nasr understands the future of the Middle East in terms of a general split along Sunni-Shi'i lines. According to this logic, major cleaveages cut across--as opposed to along or within--national borders. As a result, the differences b ...more
Mike Lindgren
Dan Mayland's assignation for the second annual Men's Book Club is this staggeringly tedious account of the history and politics of the Shia branch of Islam, unreadable except by specialists, academics, and people with seriously way too much time on their hands. A particularly irritating choice given that my father and I, like all educated, middle-class liberals, are in theory in favor of learning about different cultures, religions, blah blah blah, and are thus trapped by our own good conscienc ...more
Nicholas Reith
Though this book has it's flaws in scholarship, for example:
-Lack of Arabic sources
-Lack of balance leaning obviously toward a Shia perspective

it does provide a much needed and refreshingly different look at politics and history in the Middle East. Having been a student of "Arab studies," at one of the more progressive University departments devoted to the subject, it amazed me to finally open my eyes, reading this book, and realize how much the American and Western view of the region, even that
...more
Mujahed Abdullah
The book gives some nice history into Shiasm and Shiasm in Iraq and Iran. He also talks about the history of extreme Sunnism such as the Wahabi movement in Arabia and the rise of groups such as Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I don't think you should accept everything he says as I noticed he states some things as fact but when you check his references you find they are mere claims by parties with agendas. He also seems to be quite Anti-Iranian regime and a part of that may be due to the pan ...more
Alex
This book held a lot of useful information but it didn't sit all that well with me.
The author was obviously trying to write for a Western audience and framed almost everything in a 'how will this effect America' kind of way which is not only annoying but simplifies his previously complex arguments.
There was also a stunning lack of footnotes for a work that large and making such large claims. He's an expert in the field so I understand if he didn't have to do research but it makes it much harde
...more
Darryl
Disappointing what a limited conceptualization of funcional democracy this presents. Essentially, the book seems to advocate for a "one person one vote" system in the Middle East, but it fails to acknowledge the importance of protecions for minority groups and positions in assuring that all members of a society, not just the majority, are represented and served by their government. Rather, the author decries the subjugation of Shia individuals on the basis of their substantial proporton of popul ...more
Ben Heaney
Relevant at the moment, though seems to contain a pro-Shia undercurrent... The Shia history has lent itself to dramatics, and this book is a relevant take on the dynamic, romantic nature of the Shia standing within historical and modern day Islam.
Andrew Fortier
Shia Revival provides good information on the Shia-Sunni divide. However, it take a little to much liberty in its bias towards the Shia. Both parties have exasperated the divide in Islam, and if feel as though this book gives an overall pass to the Shia in particular.
Mohamed Dewji
Nasr very clearly explains the Shi'a/Sunni dynamics playing out in the Middle East and what it will all mean going forward. I liked that you didn't have to be a political science major to understand what Nasr was trying to explain.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Shi'a World Wide: The Shia Revival 1 10 May 10, 2014 08:20PM  
how cool! 3 28 May 04, 2013 06:51PM  
  • The Mantle of the Prophet: Religion and Politics in Iran
  • Hezbollah: A Short History
  • Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy
  • The Heirs of Muhammad
  • Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia
  • Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate
  • A History of the Modern Middle East
  • The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America
  • "Believing Women" in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur'an
  • Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present
  • Man in the Shadows: Inside the Middle East Crisis with a Man Who Led the Mossad
  • The Siege of Mecca: The Forgotten Uprising in Islam's Holiest Shrine and the Birth of al-Qaeda
  • Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution
  • The Islamist
  • The Middle East
  • Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism
  • All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror
  • After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam
12885
Son of renowned Iranian academic Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Vali Nasr was born in Tehran in 1960, went to school in England at age 16, and immigrated to the U.S. after the 1979 Revolution. He received his BA from Tufts University in International Relations summa cum laude. He earned his masters in International Economics and Middle East Studies from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1984, then ...more
More about Vali Nasr...
The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat Forces of Fortune: The Rise of the New Muslim Middle Class and What It Will Mean for Our World Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism The Rise of Islamic Capitalism: Why the New Muslim Middle Class Is the Key to Defeating Extremism (Council on Foreign Relations Books (Free Press)) The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution: The Jama'at-i Islami of Pakistan

Share This Book

“According to one estimate, of the roughly 1200 foreign fighters captured in Syria between summer 2003 and summer 2005, fully 85 percent were Saudis.24 It is not clear who financed their recruitment, training, and travel from Saudi Arabia to Syria and on to Iraq. It is clear, however, that Wahhabi and Salafi clerics and activists in the kingdom encouraged them to join the anti-Shia, anti-American jihad in Iraq. The sermons that call the youth to jihad in Iraq reek of anti-Americanism, but just as important, if not more so, they echo the old Wahhabi hatred of the Shia. War on America is now war on Shiism, and war on Shiism is war on America.” 0 likes
“One of Saudi Arabia’s aims was to stretch that Sunni wall from Pakistan north through Afghanistan and into Central Asia. The brand of radical Islam that began spreading across Central Asia and the Caucasus in the 1990s did not come from Iran but was a Sunni radicalism born of the deliberate Saudi policy of containing Iran.” 0 likes
More quotes…