One of the bloggers I admire is dicentra. In an e-mail a long time ago, she told me something that made me think quite hard. She said she didn’t care too much for books like those written by Stephen Emerson, Dr. Daniel Pipes, and Robert Spencer: exposes of Islam. She said she is familiar with biased books that tear down religious movements out of malice and full of lies, and so she feels a little wary of such books.
She has a point.
See, I am thrilled to read what Emerson, Pipes, Spencer, et al., have to write about the seedy side of Islam. But, to be perfectly frank, this is only half the picture.
In order to complete the picture, we must read books by authors like Mark Steyn, Oriana Fallaci, and Bat Yeor. While Emerson, Pipes, Spencer ,et al., write about Islamism, Steyn, Fallaci, Yeor, et al., indicate why and how all of this matters. The former great authors detail the War of Civilizations from where our enemy is coming from, while the latter show us why we have such a crucial stake in this War.
I am totally enthralled with Fallaci for this. She knew these people. She tried to warn us. She retired, exhausted, but came back with a vengeance after 9/11.
If you have to choose only one set, read Steyn, Fallaci, Yeor, et al. They will give enough information on Islamism but, importantly, they put it all in context. If you want more detail, go to the others.
And if you have to choose one author, it should be Oriana Fallaci. Read a little about her: why she came out of retirement, whom she scolded and why, and where she gets her knowledge from. She’s amazing.