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Armstrong brilliantly documents the rise of fundamentalism in Christianity, Islam, and Judiasm with clear and objective prose. I had fallen for the widely-held belief that fundamentalism was a throw-back to earlier belief systems. She refutes this concept and explains how fundamentalism is a direct response to modernity; at each stage of historical progression there is another backlash/response when fundamentalist ideology is fed by a fear of the unknown. Impressively researched, but above all, an easy lucid read.
Karen Armstrong's work is brilliant. In this work, she avoids many biased statements that would have been tempting for anyone with any beliefs at all. After some consideration, I found that most of the areas in which I felt she strayed from the objective facts we areas in which I had personal beliefs of my own interfering with a clear analysis of the work.
It is a good explanation, and influenced very little by anything but historical fact.
Two major sections: the first describes religious background based on historical, well-documented facts. The second describes in detail what fundamentalists have done and why.
The one factor that kept this book from a "5", was the underlying thought that i was "reading it for school," and now I have to write an 8 page report on it... otherwise, i would've loved it, and I think you will too if you care at all about such issues.