In This Review

The Islamic Impulse
The Islamic Impulse
Edited by Barbara Freyer Stowasser
Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, 1987, 325 pp

The editor and most of the contributors proceed from the premise that the flood of writing on Islamic fundamentalism or resurgence since the 1970s has been marked by confusion, simplifications, overreaction and fear. Twenty well-presented essays of exceeding variety by Western and Islamic experts succeed in dispelling much of the confusion, although occasionally adding to it. Some are so brief as merely to whet the reader's appetite; others become tedious with scholarly jousting. The coverage, by country and topic, is not and cannot be complete, and the authors provide no clear set of conclusions. Nevertheless, the volume as a whole, without laying claim to being the book to read on militant Islam, surely is among the best.