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What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam & Modernity in the Middle East

By: Bernard Lewis

Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2002

The New York Times Book Review calls Bernard Lewis “the doyen of Middle Eastern studies." As one of the West’s foremost authorities on Islamic history and culture, he provides a broad look at the relationship between the Middle East and the West. He argues that the Muhammed's success in establishing not merely the Muslim religion, but also a state dominated by the faith, served to create a society that is totalitarian by its very nature. The failure to separate church and state in the Islamic world, he says, has led to the decline of a once expansive Muslim empire. Lewis highlights the striking differences between Western and Middle Eastern cultures from the 18th to the 20th centuries, with comparisons of such things as militarism, weaponry, music and the arts, women, secularism, the clock and the calendar, and civil society. Lewis’ work is praised by most, vilified by some. Read it and decide for yourself.


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