Fanaticism and Conflict in the Modern Age

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FANATICISM AND CONFLICT IN THE MODERN AGE, Matthew Hughes and Gaynor Johnson, eds., Frank Cass, Abington, Oxon, United Kingdom, 2005, 171 pages, $135.00.

Fanaticism and Conflict in the Modern Age offers revealing insights into the frequently misinterpreted realities of fanaticism. Drawing on the usual historical and contemporary examples, but including less obvious ones like the Sudanese Dervishes of the 1890s and the loyalist Orange Order parades of Northern Ireland, the authors assembled here skillfully bring to light the complex nature of this recurring phenomenon.

Adroitly researched, the book highlights the philosophical underpinnings of fanaticism and probes the ideological links between politics and religion. It illuminates the many expressions of fanaticism in the modern era. In "Religious and Nationalist Fanaticism: the Case of Hamas," Meir Litvak explores the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement and concludes that fanatical movements need not be devoid of rational thinking; they can, on occasion, give precedence to tactical needs or recognize constraints in order to serve strategic goals. …