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The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  653 Ratings  ·  149 Reviews
The tenth parallel--the line of latitude seven hundred miles north of the equator--is a geographical and ideological front line where Christianity and Islam collide. More than half of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims live along the tenth parallel; so do sixty percent of the world's 2 billion Christians. Here, in the buzzing megacities and swarming jungles of Africa and Asia ...more
Audio CD, 11 pages
Published August 17th 2010 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published August 1st 2010)
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The concept of this book is a fascinating one: the Tenth Parallel, which runs around the earth 700 miles north of the equator, could be thought of as the dividing line between warring religions. Griswold makes the point that north of the tenth parallel, the Arab/Muslim religion and culture largely holds sway, while below, in Africa at least, Christian and indigenous religions mix. She has put her finger on a critically important subject and has found an area of the world where that divide can be ...more
Mikey B.
This is an on-site rendition of the ‘Clash of Civilizations’. Ms Griswold goes boldly to outposts in Africa and Asia to meet radical (and rabid) Christians and Muslims. By radical I mean people who may kill because of words written in their so-called sacred texts.

But the book goes beyond that, as Ms Griswold explores the why and the localities of these conflicts. She puts a historical and geographical context in her interviews. There are different manifestations of these ‘radicals’ – some, like
Apr 10, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never would have thought that I would lead off describing this book by saying, "Griswold's writing is spectacular in its clarity." The author's trip around the middle band of the globe, and step-by-step dissection of the spots on that band in which Muslims and Christians have grappled for centuries, has many compelling moments--not the least of which was the decision of the British empire to make a point about Muslim antagonists-to-the-Commonwealth by killing one of these leaders *and then rem ...more
Nov 15, 2010 Jaylia3 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Both insightful and intrepid, Eliza Griswold journeyed through Africa and Asia along the tenth parallel, the line of latitude 700 miles north of the equator where nearly 25% of the world’s Muslims and Christians compete for resources, converts and political power. A poet with an ear for simple but evocative language, Griswold takes the reader through the dust of encroaching desertification as she attends an indigenous Indonesian wedding, meets with African rape victims, sits with a Muslim religi ...more
Mike Gellerman
Dec 06, 2010 Mike Gellerman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like this book for a number of reasons, but first I will say that I almost didn't read it because I generally don't like books that claim some specific place, time or event as something that changed or will change the world - but this subtitle "dispatches from the fault line between Christianity and Islam" appealed - I would have passed it was "the line around the world that will determine who controls the 21st century" or something similar. The second reason I nearly didn't read it is ...more
Bob Pearson
Though the stories are compelling, the theme is pretty much the same throughout. Islam and Christianity are in conflict, says the author, all along the global belt between the equator and 10 degrees north in Africa and Asia. Sometimes, Muslims are the evil doers, sometimes it's Christians. All are afraid of being swallowed by the other religion, and nearly all live in somewhat precarious circumstances, where vulnerability is an ever present reality. And this conflict is likely to continue.

Bart Thanhauser
I think reading too much into this book would be mistake. This is journalism and travelogue more than it is a thesis on religion in the century ahead. If you want to dig for deep answers or conclusions about the relationship between Islam and Christianity in this book, then that’s probably a mistake. Griswold went on some incredible travels over 7 years, and she does this difficult topic justice with meticulous writing, and humanizing interviews.

But the title of this book is misleading; it’s a s
May 14, 2011 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well worth reading for those wishing to understand and put a human face on conflicts in Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Malaysia, many of which are crystallizing around tensions between Christians and Muslims. Many of the difficulties are caused by economic, cultural, and political problems in which religion has become a group identifier or unifier. Also, fundamentalists on both sides push matters to extremes and violence, rather than seeking ways to compromise or deescalate ...more
Sep 13, 2010 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The tenth parallel is the line of latitude seven hundred miles north of the equator where the religions of Islam and Christianity meet and conflict. More than 60 percent of the world's 2 billion Christians live along the 10th parallel — along with half the world's 1.3 billion Muslim population.

Griswold traveled and researched for seven years in the countries of Sudan, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Writing her observations and recounting her interviews with both Christians and
Mar 23, 2014 Vikram rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful reportage of the 'clash' between Islam and Christianity along the 10th parallel. Really it is a story about climate change and scarce resources, and those bearing the brunt of the rich world's destruction of the environment seeking solace in identity. Griswold humanises her subjects, from televangelists to terrorists, while putting their beliefs and actions in its proper historical and global context. I had no idea how strong links between Christianity and US foreign policy is - going ...more
Caroline Hooper
Oct 09, 2010 Caroline Hooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eliza Griswold traveled the 10th parallel circling the globe, although she visited just Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia etc... for a riveting account of the cultural fusion of Islam and Christianity. I liked this because I felt like her actually being in these places and talking with these people captured more of the "truth" than can usually be found in magazines and the media at large.
Phil Wyman
Aug 22, 2015 Phil Wyman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written, and graciously open the myriad of complexities in the world between Islam and Christianity.
Reza Aslan
This is our book for the month in the Aslan Media Book Salon. Join the group and discuss!
Justin Tapp
(This is one of several books I have reviewed recently that pertains in part to Islam and its relationship with Christianity, culture, and human rights and the review should be taken in the context of the other reviews. See the list at the bottom of the post.)

This is an excellent book that ought to be popular in missiological circles and might be required reading in a World Civilizations class somewhere. The author travels parts of the 10th parallel, a dividing line and uneasy mixing point of Ch
Since Griswold is a Christian (or at least was raised Christian - it's not too clear whether she still practices), she did a good job of showing both sides of the Islamic/Christian conflict. She does a pretty thorough job of covering several different countries where it continues to cause bloodshed.

There were some quotes from those she interviewed that I liked, and here are some of them:

"America tolerates God. Africa celebrates God. We're called the continent of darkness; but that's when you ap
Eric Wright
Dec 15, 2010 Eric Wright rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Eliza Griswold, The Tenth Parallel – Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam. In the intriguing book, Griswold gives us a fascinating picture of the countries along the tenth parallel north of the equator—facts and events that the media omits. The tenth parallel is the geographical and ideological fault line where Christianity and Islam collide. Beginning in Nigeria, then moving on to Sudan, Somalia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, Griswold sketches the history of ...more
AP Schreiber
This book is a challenge yet lacks substance.

This book is quite thorough. Griswold goes quite in depth regarding the histories of Christianity and Islam along the tenth parallel. Griswold traces those histories quite adroitly to each of the current conflicts ongoing through out the world. One of my favorite sayings is "No man is illogical," and this book illustrates that point quite well. Griswold carefully explains individual's histories which lead to terrorist activities and atrocities.

My lar
Jul 28, 2011 Pearl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eliza Griswold, reporter and poet, devoted seven years to traveling in Africa and Asia to explore, as she says, "the fault line between Christianity and Islam." The tenth parallel is the horizontal line that rings the earth 700 miles north of the equator. In Africa, this imaginary line divides the Muslims to the north from the Christians to the south. Centuries ago, North Africa experienced Arab immigration and settlement while, much later, British colonization and Christian missionaries endeavo ...more
Jul 01, 2016 Tom rated it really liked it
It's now been two weeks of mulling over this book and I still don't feel like I can adequately assess it. There is such a density of information here: so many people, so many stories, so many intertwined perspectives, motivations, and ideologies that it is truly difficult to weigh and measure them all. Initially I was afraid that the accounting of Griswold's experiences would be little more than a litany of the atrocities committed, by Christians and Muslims alike, in the places she visited. I w ...more
Glenn Myers
Jun 05, 2012 Glenn Myers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Accept no substitutes to a writer who travels to wild places and talks to people. Eliza Griswold (what a wonderful name, like something out of Dickens or Harry Potter) explores in her book the peoples of latitude ten degrees north of the equator. She concentrates on the human geography, the conflict between the desert and the sown, the aristocratic nomad and the dirt-digging farmer, and-- which is her real purpose -- between Islam and Christianity.

She's either fearless, or crazy, in her pursuit
May 17, 2011 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
Why read this? You know it's going to engender the usual sentiments: religion clouds ignorance; we're a doomed race; how could doctrines of peace exacerbate bloodshed.
But read on, because you will never know these people. You will hope beyond hope that there are those who can seek the best in a bad situation and make it real.
You share the surface of the earth with them. For all their wrath, for all their babbling, they are family and they're not that far away.


A very good work of investigative journalism. Griswold writes of her experiences traveling to Africa and southeast Asia to explore the roots of conflict between Muslims and Christians in places where members of the two faiths live alongside each other and compete for converts. Not surprisingly, much of the friction she finds isn't simply about religion, but is fueled by politics, economics, and historic legacy (colonial rulers would often deputize one group of natives, but not another). As
Feb 16, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book describes regions of Africa and Asia--Nigeria, Somalia, Malaysia, the Phillipines--where Christianity and Islam meet politically and geographically, fascinatingly along the 10th parallel of latitude, just north of the Equator. The history in the book is informative and interesting, and the author describes well how religion has become the basis for political decisions and disaster where the two cultures meet. The view of many followers of Islam that Christianity inevitably goes hand in ...more
Feb 12, 2011 John rated it really liked it
Very well-written, and both interesting and grim at the same time. Griswold makes an almost super-human effort at presenting the various hotspots in balanced terms, under an overall theme that coexistence is made difficult by the pressure from outside agitators on both sides: western evangelical Christians and fundamentalist (Arab) Muslims. Moreover, religion itself has less to do with the clashes than politics and economics; it's presented as an excuse (especially in Sudan and Malaysia). Trying ...more
Aug 23, 2010 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A travel book in which author Eliza Griswold visits sites of modern Christianity-Islam conflicts. The first half covers Africa (Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia) and the second half covers Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines). Griswold visits some places of very intense conflict and fierce religious beliefs, and consequently her stories are almost inevitably interesting. However the book did not succeed in going any further than simply presenting stories; there was no theme or idea to take away other ...more
Barbie N
Aug 15, 2014 Barbie N rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Tenth Parallel, a journalists study of the Muslim/Christian tensions along the tenth parallel which divides Nigeria, Sudan and Somalia in Africa as well as Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, is a beautifully written book on a very difficult subject. I applaud Eliza Griswold for her relentless pursuit of not only the facts of this story, but the very human element behind it. Even though the book is four years published, the story it tells is relevant today.
Ms. Griswold took great pains
Robert Delikat
Dec 30, 2010 Robert Delikat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are interested in the background of the conflicts between Islam and other religions, particularly between Christians and Muslims, this is a great primer. While I preferred the book Tea With Hezbollah for readability/listenability, The Tenth Parallel covered more history and geography and was a much more comprehensive treatment. Tea With Hezbollah was more personal and gave one more incite into the personalities and nature of many of the major characters in today’s Middle East.

It is aston
Mar 05, 2016 Owen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are looking for evidence that Islam is a religion of peace… this is not the book for you. Huntingdon’s phrase “Islam’s bloody borders” jumps to mind frequently while reading this. The author follows the 10th parallel, where, for whatever reason across the entire continents of Africa and Asia, Islam and Christianity bump up against each other (In Africa, the reason is geographical, or at least topographical- the conquering armies of Islam ran across the desert and bumped up against wet gro ...more
Mar 12, 2012 Jess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
This rigorously researched book tells the story of communities along the tenth parallel, what Griswold calls “the fault line between Christianity and Islam.” It offers both a historical and a contemporary look at the events, people, and geography that shaped this region and who continue to live within its conflict-ridden borders. Griswold’s own background, as daughter of Frank Griswold, the 25th presiding bishop of the Episcopal church, provides a personal backbone on which to hang th
Jan 12, 2011 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book for the chapter on Jos, a town I lived in for three months that both baffled and bewitched me. I've never met a westerner who lived there, especially none so knowledgeable about the low simmering civil war that rages there as Griswold. Everything she wrote rang true.

Three months later I picked up Tenth Parallel again and finished it over a long weekend. In it Griswold presents a compelling and under-reported perspective on the battle between Christianity and Islam, on
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“That such people could accomodate conflicting worldly labels... was a talent of postcolonial life, evidence of adaptation by people who have had many different categories foisted on them by outsiders.” 0 likes
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