As the dust settled around the devastation of the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on 11 September 2001, a host of questions emerged surrounding the attacks, the motives behind them and their future implications. In Two Hours that Shook the World Fred Halliday expands on the many socio-cultural, religious and political problems that have plagued the Middle East and Central Asia in the last half-century. Much has been written about 'global terrorism' and the need to eliminate it but also about the divide between East and West, the 'clash of civilisations'. Halliday dispels the idea that the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds are poised for conflict. He explains the causes and rise of Islamic fundamentalism, how terror became an instrument of political and military conflict, and why seemingly well-educated and sane individuals are taking drastic actions to voice their desperation. The burden of history is also invoked, as with the Palestinian-Israeli situation, the festering malaise at the heart of Middle Eastern consciousness and identity. While Halliday's book examines the causes of what has happened, it also provides a reasoned approach as to what the future may hold. 'By far the best book on the catastrophe of 11 September.' The Observer 'Cuts the proverbial ice.' The Daily Star 'Sober and balanced.' John Gray, New Statesman 'To understand 11 September we need a broader context and Halliday is up to the task ... He reveals his true calibre.' Ziauddin Sardar, Independent
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