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A Mosque in Munich
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Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Ian Johnson is also the author of Wild Grass: Three Portraits of Change in Modern China.

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Pulitzer-winning journalist Johnson (Wild Grass: Three Portraits of Change in Modern China) tells a probing saga of militant Islamism rooted in a Munich mosque in a cold war strategy gone wrong. The mosque eventually became the epicenter of Islamist organizing in Europe and America. Johnson's story goes back to Nazi Germany's recruitment of Soviet Muslim POWs into anti-Soviet propaganda organizations; during the cold war, the CIA vied with West Germany to control these Munich-based exiles for anti-Soviet propaganda. The CIA brought in Said Ramadan, an Egyptian anticommunist-and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, who stealthily wrested control of a mosque-building project from the CIA- and German-controlled Muslim factions, redirecting it to Islamism. Johnson pens a lucid, closely observed account of the fraught intersection of intelligence bureaucracies with emigre political factions. It's not quite a tale of "blowback": the mosque was funded largely by Saudi and Libyan money, and the Muslim Brotherhood seems to have been only marginally abetted by the CIA. But it is a troubling example of America's perennial cluelessness about the Muslim world and its religious politics. (May 4) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

"Intriguing . . . a tirelessly researched investigation"--Kirkus Reviews "I thought I knew something about blowback. But Ian Johnson has unearthed an extraordinary episode of disastrous American judgment that begins well over half a century ago, whose full consequences we've not yet seen. It's a chilling piece of history few people know, and he tells the story with a novelist's skill." --Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost "Ian Johnson is more than a brilliant journalist and tireless researcher; he is a writer of the first rank. His story of an extraordinary Muslim community in Germany is instructive, enlightening, and beautifully done."--Ian Buruma, author of Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo Van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance "Johnson's literary sensibility gives life to this amazing period, with a cast of characters ranging from exiled Uzbeks to suave CIA agents with a taste for nudist camps. Along the way, he shows how the battle against Communism unwittingly contributed to the development of today's terrorist organizations."--Peter Hessler, author of Oracle Bones

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