Crusade and Jihad The Thousand-Year War Between the Muslim World and the Global North William R. Polk

The Henry L. Stimson Lectures Series
Publication date:
06 Feb 2018
Yale University Press
656 pages: 235 x 156 x 44mm
26 b-w illus.

What really happened in the centuries of conflict between Europe, Russia, China, America, and the peoples of the Muslim world

This groundbreaking book is the first to address the catastrophic results of centuries of conflict, imperialism, and colonialism by the global north—China, Russia, Europe, Britain, and America—in the Muslim world. We see this legacy in the flood of refugees, collapse of institutions, terrorism, and widespread misery. Military force, regime change, and aid have failed because we have not understood the region’s history—or our own role in it. To move toward peace and security, we must understand the causes of turmoil.
Focusing half a century of experience as a historian, policy planner, diplomat, and businessman, William R. Polk explains in this authoritative work the deep hostilities that today convulse this part of the world. He deals with the entire Muslim world, from Nigeria to Indonesia, and from the dawn of Islam to the rise of the Islamic State, and explains how the dangers arose that we and the Muslims face, and how the dangers can be dealt with.

William R. Polk taught Arabic literature and history at Harvard University and the University of Chicago, served on the Policy Planning Council under President Kennedy, negotiated the Egyptian-Israeli Suez ceasefire, and founded the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs. He has written nineteen books.

"In this magisterial treatment, William Polk cuts to the core of contemporary conflicts with the Muslim world, providing an accessible, often troubling account."—Joel Gordon,University of Arkansas, author of Nasser: Hero of the Arab Nation

“A tour de force covering centuries of history from the perspective of the people who lived in the Muslim world, Crusade and Jihad offers a fresh and urgently needed angle on the present crisis in the Middle East that you will find nowhere else.”—Ilan Pappe, author of The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel

“William Polk combines analytical powers and profound insight with a lively, accessible style. Crusade and Jihad is a pleasure for the mind.”—Uri Avnery, author and peace activist

"With rigor and sympathy, William Polk has produced a masterpiece to enlighten us all. No one who reads Crusade and Jihad will put it down without an increased knowledge and understanding of the crucial relationship between the Islamic and Western worlds."— Charles Glass, author of Tribes with Flags and Syria Burning: A Short History of a Catastrophe

“A brilliant study, analytical and authoritative. There are few overviews that can rival the depth and the range of this work.”— K.N. Chaudhuri, FBA Emeritus Professor of The History of European Expansion, European University, Florence, Italy

"This is history as Herodotus imagined it—a brilliant and very readable retelling of the past to explain the present.  Crusade and Jihad recounts the experiences of the world's Muslim peoples at the hands of British, Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and American imperialists.  It is essential reading for anyone trying to understand today's violent interactions between the realm of Islam and the former colonial powers."— Chas Freeman, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia (1989-92) and author, inter alia, of Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy. and America's Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East

“The masterpiece of a lifetime spent in the empty deserts as well as in the corridors of power.”— Ghassan Salamé, head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya