File Size: 1194 KB
Print Length: 308 pages
Publisher: Avery (October 25, 2007)
Publication Date: October 25, 2007
In the event you believe the reason for the east-west discord is much more nuanced and complicated, then Cohen doesn't provide something insightful. It's not a new discovery to learn that most people want work, dignity and stay in peacefulness. That most children in the middle east grow up with a healthy diet of Oprah, Hanna Montana and McDonalds.
Once again, if you've ever journeyed to or studied in the region in anyway, this book (with the exception of party scenes in Beirut) is dull., Jared's capability to connect with people from such diverse backgrounds is incredible. His bravery to go into dangerous places, connect with unknown people, and risk his own protection is astonishing- every United states should be required to check out this book to garner a perspective of the Middle East that is not portrayed by our mainstream media., In "Children of Jihad, " Cohen weaves together an truthful and insightful thread of stories about his travels and life in the Middle East. But unlike many experts on the Middle East who have come before, who tend to focus on the charming and/or infamous leaders typically associated with the governments of the Middle Far east, Cohen looks to the future, to the market bulge of teenagers who will both inheret and dominate the political and cultural landscape in the Middle East.
He makes compelling arguments, through anecdotes and recollections of his travels throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, etc, that these young people are precisely the hearts and minds we need to be winning. The actual value of his approach lies in the fact that this individual doesn't view his activities through the lens of a foreign policy expert but rather as a peer, as someone who is genuinely looking for answers, and as someone who will listen to the stories that are so often left unheard and reveal on the implications for the America, the Western and the World.
Is actually refreshing to hear an informed perspective how the West and the Middle Far east can and will co-exist, despite the many identified differences. "Children of Jihad" is a must-read for anyone who wants to attain or update an educated opinion on the current and historical issues facing this important region., Typically the book starts out with the oft-familiar and now-trite language of getting traveled abroad and he was "changed" by it all. Okay, good enough--I figured I'd indulge him before he becomes to the meat.
Nevertheless his writing suffers from a couple of flaws. First, this individual writes about too much history. Now, I love history--I was obviously a history major--but Cohen is not a historian and this is not a historical book. I appreciate that some of what he discussions about is useful to understanding the situation in which he finds himself--but the history need not go on for pages. It truly is amateurish. And second, the entire theme and writing seem rather hackneyed. "As an American Jew, I couldn't consider how nice they were... and so forth, etc., etc. inches Every chapter is new scenery, new people, but the same exact history over and over again. Disappointing., I expected Jared Cohen's "Children of Jihad" to read either like a travel journal (author in foreign land feels foreign, learns Lessons), or a collection of Friedman-style essays/episodic dispatches from the Arab street.
Instead, COJ succeeds over a whole other level--part page-turning adventure, part history/social study, part conversational reporting--truly unlike anything I have read on the subject. Cohen draws heavily on personal interviews and daily connections from his months abroad to paint a amazingly vibrant portrait of young people across the Midsection East (most strikingly, Iran); one which is more powerful, perceptive and pro-American than the majority of us think.
His / her interviews and anecdotes compellingly remind us that the campaign for "hearts and minds" is a dual end effort. In public areas diplomacy, it's not enough for people to get our message away to "them"; we must also actively listen to what "they" have to say to us--about their hopes and aspirations; about the US role and how our policies affect their daily lives--if we are ever to accomplish the diplomatic goals we seek. In this respect, the book is a great source for public diplomacy scholars and practitioners.
Arranged by destination (Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq), COJ reads like an exciting and informative ride across Cohen's death wish of a map. Thematically, the book focuses on what Cohen calls the "Youth Party, " which serves as a purposefully broad market marker (two-thirds of the ME is under 30), as well as a metonym for an ineluctable, generational thirst for change.
Cohen and the majority of his subjects--ranging from students to taxi individuals to members of Hezbollah--were all under 25 at the time of writing. It makes for a fresh and novel approach, and Cohen is a truly gifted storyteller. He attacks a narrative balance between observation and empathy that feels right, and scans well. Brief historical backgrounders are included where needed for readers new to the subject.
Above all, Cohen allows himself (and the reader) to be astonished and touched by the people he meets because his encounters are rooted in mutual respect. Progressive in Arabic and Farsi, and an area scholar, he is candid about his identity as an American Jew, while remaining sensitive to the repressive political contexts in which he and his new friends must operate.
The person who said, "Youth is squandered on the young" must not have read this book--energetic and bold, it is a highly accessible, driven, and clear-eyed account that I would recommend to you aren't an interest in the region. Cohen used his youth and insouciance to his impressive advantage, and even area experts likely will be astonished by his findings., Great book, well writen. J. Cohen will be heading in for a global takeover soon enough, actually this individual already is. We're in good hands. This book sheds light on a mysterious region. Helpful, given the current state of the middle east, northern africa.
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