My Holy War

Jonathan Raban

05 January 2012
208 pages


What does America’s ‘war on terror’ and new era of religious and patriotic intensity look like to an Englishman living in Seattle?
‘Raban eloquently argues . . . that the Bush administration’s bellicose unilateralism abroad and burgeoning security state at home were neither the necessary nor best response to the attacks of 2001. Rather, the administration capitalized on an exceptional moment of national unity to take the country down a dangerously antidemocratic, Manichean path that wedded widespread religious faith to a right-wing imperial agenda. As a potent prose stylist and keen observer of the American scene, Raban charts with rare luminosity the changes and widening fissures in American society from 9/11 through 7/7, which makes revisiting even topics like Howard Dean’s presidential race worthwhile. Several thoughtful and compelling chapters grapple, meanwhile, with the largely Western and entirely modern origins of Islamist extremism, drawing on Raban’s demonstrated familiarity with the Middle East . . . The book’s defence of reason over militant irrationalism, resting as it does on the author’s formidable talent for insight and analogy, will inspire readers with the underlying issues at play in this dizzying, event-crammed historical moment’ Publishers Weekly