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

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  729 ratings  ·  156 reviews
A riveting investigation of the jagged fault line between the Christian and Muslim worlds

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
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 25th 2019 by Picador USA (first published August 1st 2010)
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Start your review of The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam
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 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 ...more
Nov 15, 2010 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 ...more
Mike Gellerman
Dec 06, 2010 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.

Jamal Abisourour
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read, with accurate depictions of the humanly hypocritical and situationally paradoxical events that occur on the fault line between these two great religions.

I have lived and visited all countries mentioned in this book and have felt the “civilized” tension between both religions knowing that more ugly versions of that tension are taking place not very far away. I have sat at tables where members of both faiths have expressed their dissatisfaction and distrust of members of the
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
May 14, 2011 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 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 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 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 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
Janet Mahlum
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somehow I failed to get this book on my Currently Reading list so have set an arbitrary start date. This is not a book for the faint of heart. I saw many adjectives describing the author, Eliza Griswold, but I'm not sure if "intrepid" was one. "Courageous" is another that comes to mind. This white woman traveled the 10th parallel through Africa and Asia meeting with Muslims and Christians, with pastors, missionaries, terrorists, presidents, leaders, ordinary people. Her writing is clear and ...more
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
Ope Bukola
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-researched look at the conflicts in areas of the world where Christianity and Islam physically meet. Griswold follows the 10th parallel from Nigeria, Sudan, Indonesia, and the Philippines and talks with government officials, jihadists, missionaries, and everyday people at the intersection of these two great religions. She connects the rising conflicts along this line to the fight for resources and opportunities. Where Christians and Muslims have co-existed for centuries, conflicts and ...more
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Journalists do not always make the best writers. Reporting on moments of drama and conflict in pithy, short prose does not lend itself to book-length analysis that can tie disparate pieces together. But Eliza Griswold is no ordinary journalist and this is no ordinary book. The Tenth Parallel is powerful, insightful, confounding, and beautiful. Griswold tackles thorny religious, cultural, and geopolitical conflict with incredible deftness and respect, revealing so much about worlds I barely knew ...more
Michael L Miksche

Ms. Griswold takes the reader into the border regions of Christianity and Islam and honestly shares her astute observations. I am enriched by her knowledge about the cultural, political, social, historical and geographical contexts in each journalistic adventure. Her insightful reporting is written clearly and purposefully, and frequent interjections of poetic descriptions delighted me. She also understands that faith is as complex as humanity, and is not to be trivialized as
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
So fascinating to learn about these countries and how these two religions and how politics and resources also create a divide between the groups. So much killing and attacks on one another. Would be fascinating to read in conjunction with the poisonwood bible and Sapiens.
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite interesting comparison between the situation in the countries along the 10th parallel. I had never appreciated the role American missionaries played quite as much as I do now. There seemed to be a number of typos, which I always find distracting.
Donna Herrick
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
An investigation of the conflict between Christianity and Islam in Africa and Asia
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.

Eric Wright
Dec 15, 2010 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
Jul 28, 2011 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 ...more
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 ...more
Glenn Myers
Jun 05, 2012 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
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
Griswold travels the 10th parallel, spending time in Northern Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc., exploring the frontier between the Muslim world and the (southern) Christian world.

This book is a reminder that much of the Muslim world isn't the way we see it described in the Middle East, and much of the Christian world is very much different from our Western context. Nearly a quarter of the world’s Christians now live south of the 10th parallel, next door to Muslims, many
May 17, 2011 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.

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Eliza Griswold is an American journalist and poet. She was a fellow at the New America Foundation from 2008 to 2010 and won a 2010 Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

“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
“Reverend Abdu bore his several identities, and all their contradictions, in a single skin. It wasn't relativism: his convictions went deeper than that... Such labels seemed ultimately unimportant to him because he did not belong to himself, or to this world, at all; he belonged to God.” 0 likes
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