This is an intelligent, erudite work on the travails of Islamic civilisation as it has encountered the expansion of Western powers, and on its efforts to come to grips with the forces of modernity, and more recently globalisation. Ali A Allawi’s work is at once an exposition, a lament, and a prescription. Allawi is both an academic (Oxford and Princeton) and politician, having served as Minister of Finance in Iraq until 2006.
Allawi begins with a lucid, if rather breathless, discussion of the ideas of Islamic thinkers, many of whom struggled to reconcile Islamic authenticity with global modernity, and ‘with their own responses in the context of an Islam which affirmed the significance of the transcendent’. Some of them will