Gerges, Fawaz A. 1958–
Gerges, Fawaz A. 1958–
PERSONAL: Born 1958, in Lebanon. Education: London School of Economics, M.Sci.; Oxford University, D.Phil.
ADDRESSES: Office—Sarah Lawrence College, 1 Mead Way, Bronxville, NY 10708. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer, educator, and analyst. American Broadcasting Company (ABC), Burbank, CA, senior analyst and commentator; National Public Radio (NPR), Washington, DC, commentator for "Morning Edition" radio show; Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, professor of Middle East studies and Christian A. Johnson Chair in International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies, 1994–.
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, research fellow for two years; also taught at Oxford, Harvard, and Columbia Universities. Has appeared on Cable News Network (CNN), Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and Al Jazeera.
AWARDS, HONORS: MacArthur fellowship.
The Superpowers and the Middle East: Regional and International Politics, 1955–1967, foreword by William Quandt, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1994.
America and Political Islam: Clash of Cultures or Clash of Interests?, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1999.
The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals and scholarly journals, including Foreign Affairs, Survival, New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, International Herald Tribune, Nation, Oxford International Review, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Beirut Review, Al-Mustaqbal Al-Arabi, and Al-Safir.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Making of the Arab World: The Legacy of Militarism and The New Jihadists, both forthcoming.
SIDELIGHTS: As a professor and analyst Fawaz A. Gerges is an expert on topics relating to the Middle East. Because of this, he has been interviewed on numerous television and radio shows, including the Charlie Rose Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show. In 1994 Gerges published his first book, The Superpowers and the Middle East: Regional and International Politics, 1955–1967. In the book, Gerges uses both Western and Arabic sources to analyze how regional and international politics related to one another during major events that occurred from 1955 to 1967. These events range from the Israeli army attack on Egyptian military outposts along the Gaza Strip (a hotly contested territory bordering Egypt and Israel), in 1955, to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war fought between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, for control of the Gaza Strip and surrounding areas. Gerges then examines the influence that Western 'superpowers,' namely the United States and the Soviet Union, had on these incidents.
Reviewers complimented Gerges's in-depth analysis. Indeed, William B. Quandt, writing in Foreign Affairs, observed that Gerges offers "analytical sophistication and detailed knowledge of a wide variety of sources." Additionally, Michael Sterner, writing in Middle East Policy, acknowledged that the author "does full justice to the complexity of these events without trying to force neat conclusions or theories when the facts point to a more ambiguous result." Sterner further noted, "Overall this is one of the most reliable and well-substantiated guides available to take us through this fascinating period." Reviewing The Superpowers and the Middle East for Arab Studies Quarterly, Antony T. Sullivan voiced a similar opinion; he called the book "objective and meticulously researched" and concluded that "certainly, this is diplomatic history at its best."
Gerges focused his attention on the topic of jihad to publish the books The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global and Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy. A jihad, or "holy war," is a war fought by participating Muslims against non-Muslims, or infidels. In The Far Enemy, Gerges uses interviews with—and documents written by—jihad leaders to show that most jihadists were focused on overthrowing corrupt leaders in their own countries until the early 1990s, when they began attacking other countries. These militant activists refer to the United States and its Western allies as "the far enemy," as they fight to resist globalization and Westernization. Based on his field work in the Middle East, Gerges argues that many Islamic militants do not agree with attacks on foreign countries. In Journey of the Jihadist, Gerges profiles key jihadists and expands upon the core arguments that were introduced in The Far Enemy. Critical response to both books was mixed. Marcia L. Sprules, writing in the Library Journal, felt that the documents included in The Far Enemy "will be familiar only to other specialists" due to the lack of translation. For this reason, Sprules felt that the book is "most suitable for academic collections." On the other hand, a reviewer for the Brothers Judd Web site called the book "an enormously useful history of the jihadi movement." A Publishers Weekly reviewer remarked that although Journey of the Jihadist "reads like a quicky follow-up," the author's personal account adds "both intimacy and depth to this valuable book."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Political Science Review, March, 2001, K.A. Beyoghlow, review of America and Political Islam: Clash of Cultures or Clash of Interests?, p. 255.
Arab Studies Quarterly, summer, 1995, Antony T. Sullivan, review of The Superpowers and the Middle East: Regional and International Politics, 1955–1967, p. 77.
Foreign Affairs, May-June, 1995, William B. Quandt, review of The Superpowers and the Middle East, p. 184.
Library Journal, November 1, 2005, Marcia L. Sprules, review of The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global, p. 100.
Middle East Policy, March, 1996, Michael Sterner, review of The Superpowers and the Middle East, p. 197.
Publishers Weekly, February 20, 2006, review of Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy, p. 143.
Brothers Judd, http://www.brothersjudd.com/ (April 13, 2006), review of The Far Enemy.
CNN Online, http://www.cnn.com/ (August 9, 2003), Carol Costello, interview with author.
Sarah Lawrence College Web site, http://www.slc.edu/ (April 13, 2006), author profile.