A historically exacting but philosophically underwhelming treatise.

VIOLENCE AND MILITANTS

FROM OTTOMAN REBELLIONS TO JIHADIST ORGANIZATIONS

A scholarly investigation of extremist violence that compares contemporary groups like Hamas to 19th-century rebellions against the Ottoman Empire.

Debut author Cayli (Law/LUMSA Univ.) shines the light of rational investigation on the “complicated dynamics and bitter realities” that lead to violent acts by ideological zealots. He identifies two different kinds of violence at issue: “cultural violence,” which occurs when a group tries to desperately protect a cultural identity that it believes is “subject to injustice,” and “structural violence,” which occurs when a group feels marginalized and disenfranchised by institutional forces. The former involves “politico-religious” factors, Cayli says, meaning that the violence is inspired by a religious mission in a political environment, and the latter involves “socio-structural” factors—the perceived victimization by a legal and economic order. The author draws deeply upon the past to clarify the present, exploring the militant uprisings against the Ottoman Empire between 1839 and 1876. Cayli compares these to the violence employed by four contemporary jihadist organizations: Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaida, and the Islamic State group. The author ultimately concludes that although the various groups rationalize violence in notably similar ways, the actual methods of violence vary, depending on context. Over the course of this book, Cayli’s analysis is careful and rigorous, and his command of secondary literature is impressive, resulting in a broadly multidisciplinary study. Also, his intellectual ambitions go beyond academic analysis and reach for something philosophically grander—namely, to “shed light on the universal codes underlying human behavior” that can lead, in desperation, to bloodshed. However, despite the historical subtlety of the work, the author’s excursions in to philosophy can be vague and banal at times: “Value-creation commences within our thoughts, and the existence of thoughts depends on how we value these thoughts.”

A historically exacting but philosophically underwhelming treatise.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-7735-5869-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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