Samuel P. Huntington is currently Albert J. Weatherhead III Professor at Harvard University. One of the world's foremost experts on international relations, he is the author of numerous ground-breaking books and articles including The Soldier And The State and Political Order In Changing Societies.
This book attracted attention because of its thesis that the "clashes of civilizations are the greatest threat to world peace." However, Huntington's work is important here for his second chapter on the nature and study of civilizations (with its excellent bibliographic sources), and his last chapter on the future of the West and other "core" civilizations. (LJ 10/1/96) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
"One of the most important books to have emerged since the end of the Cold War" Henry Kissinger; "The book is dazzling in its scope and grasp of the intricacies of contemporary global politics" Francis Fukuyama; "An intellectual tour de force: bold, imaginative, and provocative. A seminal work that will revolutionize our understanding of international affairs" Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser
Huntington here extends the provocative thesis he laid out in a recent (and influential) Foreign Affairs essay: we should view the world not as bipolar, or as a collection of states, but as a set of seven or eight cultural "civilizations"‘one in the West, several outside it‘fated to link and conflict in terms of that civilizational identity. Thus, in sweeping but dry style, he makes several vital points: modernization does not mean Westernization; economic progress has come with a revival of religion; post-Cold War politics emphasize ethnic nationalism over ideology; the lack of leading "core states" hampers the growth of Latin America and the world of Islam. Most controversial will be Huntington's tough-minded view of Islam. Not only does he point out that Muslim countries are involved in far more intergroup violence than others, he argues that the West should worry not about Islamic fundamentalism but about Islam itself, "a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power." While Huntington notes that the war in Bosnia hardened into an ethno-religious clash, he downplays the possibility that such splintering could have been avoided. Also, his fear of multiculturalism as a source of American weakness seems unconvincing and alarmist. Huntington directs the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard. (Nov.)