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Answering Only to God: Faith and Freedom in Twenty-First-Century Iran (Englisch) Taschenbuch – Mai 2004

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Geneive Abdo reported from Islamic countries for The Guardian and The Economist for over a decade. She is the author of No God But God, a correspondent in the Washington bureau of The Boston Globe, and a commentator on NPR and the BBC. Abdo was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and a Guggenheim Fellow in 2001–2002.
Jonathan Lyons served as the bureau chief of an international news agency in Iran and in Turkey. Before that, he covered the collapse of the Soviet Union. They both live in Washington, D.C.

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The fifth day of the Persian month of Dei in the year 1379 was a dreary affair in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 7 Rezensionen
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Outstanding work of contemporary journalism 18. März 2003
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Abdo and Lyons have done a masterful job of reporting in this well-timed book. Their efforts provide the reader with a nuanced perspective on a charter member of the so-called "Axis of Evil" and show how the laws of unintended consequences apply to U.S. foreign policy. Lyons, a veteran Reuters correspondent, and Abdo, a well-known journalist and commentator, provide compelling arguments about the genesis of 21st century Iran that should lead to deep discussions and thoughtful debates as the United States prepares to reprise its earlier war against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Fascinating and informative 20. März 2003
Von "dscrang" - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
A cogent and well-written look at the inner workings of Iran after the Islamic revolution, filled with insights into how religion feeds into every aspect of politics and society. A great read.
5 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
We need to read this book 30. Januar 2004
Von DAVID-LEONARD WILLIS - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
In the late 1990s, the Islamic Republic adopted a policy of cautious outreach to the world and Khatami's landslide victory in 1997 raised hopes of a more moderate regime in Iran, with democracy, a free press, the free flow of information, political and religious tolerance, and participation by women and minorities. However, this revolution in thinking brought Khatami's government into conflict with the ruling clerics with their own vision of an Islamic society. Based on interviews conducted during their residence from 1998 to 2001, Abdo and Lyons concluded that the clerical establishment is still very powerful and is able to block any move not to their liking. As a consequence little if any of the hoped for changes have taken place. All politics in Iran stem ultimately from theological conflict and the deep doctrinal, philosophical and political differences separating the Sunnis who dominate the broader Islamic world and the Shi'ites who recognize only the authority of Mohammed's direct heirs. Both sides believe in preserving the Islamic system, but it is the degree of flexibility and independence within the system that forms the basis of their disagreement. Currently there are two issues which are being fought behind the scenes - will it be the democratically elected or the clerics who rule Iran and will it be the Sunnis or the Shi'ites who will win the battle for the minds of the young people.
According to Shi'ite texts the first eleven heirs to the Prophet Mohammed were killed by agents of the rival Sunni Caliphs and the twelfth Imam went into hiding, announcing in 941 that he was severing his earthly ties to return at the end of time to usher in a reign of perfect peace and justice. The Sunni clerical class assumed the rights and privileges once reserved for the Imams, including the collection of obligatory religious taxes, convening Friday prayers and defensive war against the infidel. Weakened by World War II, Britain ceded its influence in Iran and in the Middle East to the US which played a central role in the 1953 overthrow of Mosadeq who intended to nationalize the British-owned oil industry. The CIA assisted the Shah's intelligence service; US businessmen became more influential; American servicemen and their families appeared in large numbers; and western culture ran rampant through a traditional society. It was the political mullahs led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, aided by Islamic activists, secular nationalists, militant students, clerics and the leftist militia who brought down the Shah allowing Khomeini to create a Sunni-based theocratic system. The desert city of Qom and the northeastern city of Mashhad make up the intellectual center of contemporary Shi'ism where many interviews took place. Below the surface Qom is seething with discontent over the clerics' 20 year experiment with direct political power during which universities were purified of un-Islamic influences by firing professors, expelling students and burning books; the secondary school system was reorganized; the penal codes were rewritten; western businesses were nationalized and the Shah's assets seized. Ten centuries after the disappearance of the 12th Imam, many Shi'ite clerics believe that the Sunnis have neither the authority nor the right to involve themselves directly in politics, which by definition has been corrupt and illegitimate since the Greater Occultation.
Following 9/11 a consensus emerged overnight that Islam had declared war on the West. But bin Laden's primary grievance concerns the shortcomings of the Arab rulers and not the values or lifestyle of the decadent west. Moderate Muslims are trying to find ways to adapt Islam to the demands of the modern world, which puts them at odds with extremists like bin Laden. Even so, it is only when the West intervenes in the Muslims' pursuit of Islamic purity and religious salvation - either by supporting repressive rulers perceived to be illegitimate in religious terms or interfering directly in domestic politics in the Muslim world - that it too becomes the enemy. One passage in particular caught my eye: "The battle for the hearts and minds of seminarians is critical to the struggle among the clerics, for these students represent not only the future of the clerical class but they also act as aides, researchers, and even propagandists and recruiters for the senior ulama who head the religious schools and institutes." Huntington in 'The Clash of Civilizations' warns us that the Muslim population is likely grow from 18% of world population in 1980 to 30% in 2025, that the Protestant Reformation was one of the outstanding youth movements in history and that the youth of Islam are already making their mark in the Islamic resurgence. Peter Bergen in 'Holy War, Inc' tells us that one of bin Laden's goals is to topple the Saudi regime and replace it with rule aligned to 7th century teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. What happens in Muslim countries will have an increasing impact on our lives in the west and such issues as who rules Iran and who will win the battle of the minds for the young people will set the trends for decades to come. For anyone who wishes to have an understanding of the big issues of our time this book is required reading.
Four and a half stars 18. Oktober 2010
Von Will Jerom - Veröffentlicht auf
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Content Summary: This is a good book, but not the easiest book to read. If you have not read a book about Iran or know nothing about it, this is not perhaps the best place to start. The contents deal mostly with domestic religion and politics of Iran (foreign policy is not the focus), and how the intention of the Islamic revolution there was to carve out a new democratic space, but how those intentions became captive slaves of the hard-line Islamic clergy. Now, instead of an Islamic democracy, it appears to be more of an Islamic tyranny, but with some bright and hopeful Iranians challenging the status quo.

Analytical Review: The book does an excellent job spelling out some of the resistance to what has become tyranny of the Islamic clergy. It offers insight into the ambiguity and promises of those who wish to reform the system, but cannot because they do not hold power. If you wish to understand what is happening in Iran, this book will prove crucial to you at some point. This book is, however, organizationally complex, a bit wandering, and filled with detail. While it is worth absorbing, it is not necessarily the place for a beginner to start.
7 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Good Book Four Years Out of Date 12. Juli 2003
Von Potkin Azarmehr - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
As interesting as this book is, I must say it is four years late and four years out of date. Iran has moved on so much in the last four years since Abdo and Lyons were kicked out by the "reformist" elements.
We now have a situation where amongst the arrested students from recent protests are even children of the Islamic establishement such as the son of Isfahan MP, Shirzad.
Four years ago the population were still hopeful of Khatami's promises of reform and naturally like any other people would rather if they can and is possible, reach their goals through peaceful methods. This illusion is now over. The Iranians know that reform is not possible within the Islamic system.
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