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A revelatory look at what happens when political Islam collides with the secular West
Ian Buruma's Murder in Amsterdam is a masterpiece of investigative journalism, a book with the intimacy and narrative control of a crime novel and the analytical brilliance for which Buruma is renowned.
On a cold November day in Amsterdam in 2004, the celebrated and controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was shot and killed by an Islamic extremist for making a movie that "insulted the prophet Mohammed." The murder sent shock waves across Europe and around the world. Shortly thereafter, Ian Buruma returned to his native land to investigate the event and its larger meaning as part of the great dilemma of our time.
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- Jacob Arnon
Self Indulgent twaddle
The author Mr. Buruma comes across as a willful personality. This is ironic because he attributes such a personality to murdered provocateur Van Gogh. The problem I head with the book is that Buruma carries in his mind an idealized view of culture and society. He despises nationalism and embraces a loose confederation of European societies without borders and without social control. But he never explains how his model of a soft universalism would work.
He says of anyone in his sociological analyses who sees him/herself as a nationalist as hankering after a mythic country that never was. Fair enough but would he deal with people who have such sentiments? He doesn't say he analyzes them out of existence.
I would say that Buruma hankers after a mythical universalism which has much of a chance to realization as does the "mythic nationalism" that he derides.
In his documentary novel he shows clearly that universalism leads to the creation of many narrow-minded communities which are even more intolerant than liberal nation States.
Finally to my mind the book wasn't well thought out. Buruma expressed merely his passion for a mythic future. I wish he had had the guts to admit that.
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- Robert Silva
A thoughtful, balanced book, read by a madman
If you could sum up Murder in Amsterdam in three words, what would they be?
Europe's identity struggle
Would you be willing to try another one of Shaun Grindell’s performances?
No. In fact, I wish Audible had a feature that would let me flag anything he's read and ensure that I steer well clear -- I don't usually pay much attention to the narrator, but this was awful.
Any additional comments?
This is a thoughtful, balanced look at some genuinely thorny issues in the integration of immigrants, and particularly Muslim immigrants, into the fabric of Dutch society. But if you are considering the book, I would urge you to listen to the sample and make sure you think you can listen to a whole book of the narrator ending every. Single. Sentence that way.
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