Book Club Channel
Praise for "Commander of the Faithful"
"Mr. Kiser insists on the religious dimension of what might otherwise be read as a story of military and political maneuvering. But "Commander of the Faithful" is hardly a theological study. It is a dramatic story of quarreling tribes, of Sufi sects and brotherhoods, of treacherous Ottoman officials, rival French generals, secret negotiations, broken truces, terrible atrocities and new forms of insurgency and counterinsurgency warfare."
—Peter Steinfels, New York Times, November 22, 2008
This is an important book on an important subject. I hope it will reach a wide audience. I will introduce it to my fellow scholars and students."
—Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic Studies,
George Washington University.
"Kiser writes with much affection and as a humanitarian observer of human strengths and weaknesses. It is truly a relevant book."
—A. A. Sachedina, Professor of Religious Studies University of VA
"Abd el-Kader teaches the French and the world that to achieve success, moral authority is necessary, not simply military might...This fascinating revival of a 19th century world hero's story holds valuable lessons for today's Middle East Warrior. It would be a worthwhile addition to any reading list."
—Col. Jon Smythe, USMC ( ret.)
"Kiser's book is highly relevant to what is going on in the Islamic world. Abd el-Kader is the embodiment of the true moral, theological and rational ideas taught by Islam. I strongly recommend this book be translated into Arabic, Persian and Urdu."
—Muhammad Ammar Khan Nasir, Editor Monthly Al-Sharia , Pakistan.
"I hope and pray we can make Abd el-Kader's life and message more accessible to people in this time when it is so sorely needed. Kiser does a beautiful job of mixing a dramatic narrative with solid scholarship."
—Reza Shah-Kazemi, editor of Islamic World Report , author and research associate of the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London; Board of Directors, Matheson Trust UK
"The Emir is a complex combination of warrior, spiritual leader, diplomat and humanitarian rarely found found in today's society. This meticulously researched book provides us with an understanding of the multi-cultural differences that existed then and their resolution. Commander of the Faithful should be used as a guidebook for understanding current and future conflicts and interventions."
—Col. John Bourgeois USMC (ret)
"John Kiser's engagingly written and intelligently crafted Commander of the Faithful examines the life of a genuine hero of the Arab world in the nineteenth century... Kiser artfully shows how and why Abd el-Kader emerged as a world icon, and whose example is badly needed today. I highly recommend this book."
—Philip Khoury, past president of the Middle Eastern Studies Association and Ford Professor of History, MIT.
"This engrossing and uplifting story of emir Abd el-Kader who led the resistance to French colonial rule could only have been written by someone with a profound knowledge of the French and Arab worlds and a keen sense of the eternal struggle between morality and Realpolitik...It is not surprising that the author has published in both the Marine Corps Gazette and the Journal of Cistercian Studies.
—Fredrick Starr, Chairman Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies