A concise and effective work about Islam as a religion of peace.



A defense of Islam that challenges Western myths and stereotypes.

In his debut book, Elmi hopes to provide skeptics and critics of the Muslim faith with a scholarly and faithfully Islamic defense. One can argue that Western perceptions of Christianity as a religion of peace and democracy and of Islam as a religion of violence and war will inevitably only lead to future conflict. For this reason, Elmi focuses on Islamic beliefs regarding violence, war, and peace. Central to his argument is the notion that Westerners often “confuse Islamic teachings with the social and cultural practices within Muslim communities” and unjustly blame a religion of peace for the warlike actions of its worst adherents. He points out that Islam’s history features the acts of virtuous men and women, the forging of a sacred community, and the formation of organizations that promote social justice as well as warfare, persecutions, and violence—just as Christianity does. And just as contemporary Christians believe the Crusades to be counter to the message of Jesus Christ, Elmi notes, so too should the West distinguish between true, peaceful Islamic ideology and those who falsely act in its name. The author is cleareyed about the violence of history, but he’s also careful to emphasize the fair treatment of Christians and Jews in the early history of Islam. Elmi is at his best in later chapters, in which he defends verses from the Quran that seemingly endorse violence—and which are often cherry-picked by critics of the faith. By providing historical context and scholarly analysis, the author convincingly shows Islam to be a religion that “promotes peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims.” The book is written with a general Western audience in mind, so Islamic scholars will not find much that’s new here. However, non-Muslims will find an accessible, reasoned case against Western stereotypes.

A concise and effective work about Islam as a religion of peace.

Pub Date: May 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4808-7383-4

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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