Now in an expanded edition, this outstandingly successful survey text introduces students of religion and world politics to the faith and practice of Islam, the second largest religion in the world and one of the most politically potent. Tracing the law, theology, mysticism and philosophy of Islam from its earliest origins to its contemporary resurgence, the text also dispels stereotypes about the role of Islam in Muslim life today and its complex and at times conflagrational influence on politics and government throughout the world. A comprehensive and highly useful text for students of religion and world politics, The Straight Path is an indispensable resource for understanding Islam in all its contemporary vitality.
Esposito, a well-respected scholar and prolific writer on things Islamic, is the founding director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and, most recently, general editor of the four-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World (LJ 3/15/95). Here we have the third edition of a book first published in 1988 (LJ 9/15/88) outlining Muslim origins, history, doctrine, and culturegenerally in a Middle Eastern context. This edition, which contains a useful bibliography and thorough index, incorporates recent developments in the Middle East and adds material on Pakistan and on the growth of Islam in America. Free of any evident anti-Muslim or anti-Christian bias, Esposito's scholarly prose is both straightforward and highly readable, with technical terms always clearly defined. Nevertheless, this is a work for serious students. Recommended for academic libraries and public libraries with substantial collections in religion.James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, VA