Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Jul 27, 2006

The Force of Reason

The title of this book was frankly, intriguing, although I've heard Oriana Fallaci described as a "Leftist" correspondant in the past. (She denies belonging to either the Left or the Right politically, which in today's world roughly means that she's SANE.) The Force of Reason is a follow-up to The Rage and the Pride and is terribly referential, a flaw even in works of fiction. It is a tirade against the Muslim takeover of Europe, a phenomenon that Oriana refers to as "Eurabia" (a term she did not invent). I'm sorry to say that there really wasn't much to the book; it very much left me asking "what reason?"

This is because Ms. Fallaci's writing is extremely emotionalistic and overwrought, precisely what you would not expect in a book purporting to be about reason. She dwells lengthily on issues such as the method of preparing halal meat; I appreciate that draining the blood of an animal may seem gruesome to some people, but since I cut up humans for a living I'm not terribly concerned by it, myself. I'm also not terribly in favor of catering to people with weak stomachs and fine sensibilities; if you can't stand the sight of blood, have the grace to faint in private. Don't pretend that it adds weight to your argument.

Her self-translation to English from Italian is awkward at best, making the book difficult and sometimes unpleasant to read. It's nice that she tried to put her words into English on her own, certainly it's difficult for a translator, no matter how skilled, to convey the essence of someone else's words. However, she could have at least given the manuscript to a native English-speaker for polishing after she'd translated the essence. The errors of usage make her seem hurried, unprofessional, and too hysterical to be taken seriously.

While she does make some interesting points about such issues as the collusion of the Catholic Church with the Muslim invasion, her points are detached from any underlying principles. Why is Islam bad? They kill people! They castrate women! They defame Oriana in the press! They don't allow free speech! They bomb stuff!

And why are those things bad? No answer. This is sad, because that is precisely the question that must be addressed if one is to make a consistent, compelling, reasoned case against Islam. Anything else is just flailing around in the dark--blind screaming in an uncaring universe.

Rating: 2.0


Anonymous said...

I agree with you that Fallaci does not make a pro-reason philosophical argument against Islam. She wouldn't be capable. But I don't think that was her point. She wanted to convey to her readership the savagery of Muslim culture. I think she did *that* well.

In the current PC world, the Left is falling all over itself to cover up for Islam and embolden it. Meanwhile many Ecumenical Christians are hesitant to criticize Islam because on some level they know to do so would leave their own religion vulnerable.

So in that context I think Fallaci's voice is refreshing. True, she's not philosophical and she's not a good writer. But at least she has guts to shed some light on Muslim brutality to a world that is all too willing to turn a blind eye (or the other cheek).

D. Eastbrook

Jennifer Snow said...

All true, however I review books more on their merits as books. I certainly could have included a mention of those facts, though.

Anonymous said...

The "Reason" means most people in the Western culture believe in reasoning or use reasoning in their thinking while followers of Islam are not encouraged to use reasoning. They have to follow the teaching of the Koran blindly.
I think "The Force of Reason" is very informative and awakening. She is a hero who dares to risk her life to shake up the people and politicians about what is going on in Europe. I don't live in Europe so this is an eye-opening book for me. This is a "must read" book for people who are interested in current world politics and for people who wonder why there are so many foreigners in Europe.