Absolutely Recommended, Some Flaws, But Many Illustrations and an Easy Read, September 29, 2016
I rate this book as a solid five because it is a very important collection of insights — including a buried but all important indictment of Saudi Arabian Wahhabism and Western Imperialism as the true roots of ISIS. The graphics are so exceptional that I urge the author to offer this book in Kindle form where color graphics and the easy jumps from picture to brief test to picture will make this book twice as valuable as its present form limited to black and white photos.
There is absolutely no question about the author’s erudition or integrity. This is a man deeply steeped — as an observing Westerner — in Arabic culture, history, and language; in the political-economic history of the region; in the role of Islam as the foundation and the glue for society and the Islamic economy; and in the contributing factors including the US invasion of Iraq and the US dismantling of the Sunni officer corps in Iraq leading to ISIS. A solid five on intent and substance.
6-Star Guide to Saving Every City in Every Country — a World-Changing Book
This is an extraordinary book, easily five stars but I am elevating it to 6 stars (my top ten percent across over 2000 reviews, all but a handful non-fiction) because the author is not just a genius, but he explains his deep multi-level knowledge brilliantly. I have never seen a collection of complicated nuanced topics presented in such a compelling, easy to understand, well-illustrated manner. The case studies abound. The publisher is to be complemented for the purity of the presentation — a stunning book with perfectly laid out pages, glossy color on every page, and a superb index, which is where most publishers fail their authors.
This is a five star book with one major point: revolutions don’t succeed from mass power, they succeed when mass power is no longer confronted by the armed power of the state because the individual soldiers and police stop defending the status quo. Since I myself have studied revolution extensively, and < Graphic: Preconditions of Revolution in the USA Today > is easily found online, I am both impressed by the author’s blend of journo-scholarship, and a tad disappointed that he missed some key bits.
5.0 out of 5 starsSurprising and therefore valuable, February 11, 2015
This is a solid piece of work that might normally have been a 4 but it surprised me just enough to warrant taking it to a 4. I love unconventional wisdom and seeing solid proof that conventional wisdom — in this case, “The Internet changes everything for the better” questioned.
I read this book on the same flight as I read Richard Wolff’s Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism (City Lights Open Media) and this is the second reason I will place the book at five: while the Internet does NOT change everything for the better, especially in the case of women and youth in Kuwait, it IS “occupied,” is does blur the line between the user and the producer, and it does offer a model for new forms of social and economic organization. In a strange way I could not have anticipated, these two books complement each other.