Books on Islamism and the bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes of the Arab World are a scholarly staple. In Making the Arab World, Fawaz Gerges breaks from the pack. Rather than focus on either Islamism or Arab state regimes as isolated phenomena, as many have done, he regards them in tandem. Islamism and Arab nationalism, he writes, have since the mid-twentieth century been engaged in a dialectical relationship; one fully cannot persist without the other. To make his case, Gerges draws on the biographies of Sayyid Qutb, the mercurial ideologue of radical Islamism, and Abdel Nasser, the pragmatic architect of the Egyptian Republic. Political power, not ideology, was the driver of the conflict between the two. The result is a book of nuance and insight.

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