Spies and Holy Wars: The Middle East in 20th-Century Crime Fiction by Reeva Spector SimonSpies and Holy Wars: The Middle East in 20th-Century Crime Fiction by Reeva Spector Simon

Spies and Holy Wars: The Middle East in 20th-Century Crime Fiction

byReeva Spector Simon

Paperback | November 15, 2011

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Illuminating a powerful intersection between popular culture and global politics, Spies and Holy Wars draws on a sampling of more than eight hundred British and American thrillers that are propelled by the theme of jihad—an Islamic holy war or crusade against the West. Published over the past century, the books in this expansive study encompass spy novels and crime fiction, illustrating new connections between these genres and Western imperialism.

Demonstrating the social implications of the popularity of such books, Reeva Spector Simon covers how the Middle Eastern villain evolved from being the malleable victim before World War II to the international, techno-savvy figure in today's crime novels. She explores the impact of James Bond, pulp fiction, and comic books and also analyzes the ways in which world events shaped the genre, particularly in recent years. Worldwide terrorism and economic domination prevail as the most common sources of narrative tension in these works, while military "tech novels" restored the prestige of the American hero in the wake of post-Vietnam skepticism. Moving beyond stereotypes, Simon examines the relationships between publishing trends, political trends, and popular culture at large—giving voice to the previously unexamined truths that emerge from these provocative page-turners.

REEVA SPECTOR SIMON is Professor of History at Yeshiva University. She previously served as Associate Director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University and is the author of Iraq between the Two World Wars.
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Title:Spies and Holy Wars: The Middle East in 20th-Century Crime FictionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.88 inPublished:November 15, 2011Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292737572

ISBN - 13:9780292737570

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Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Chapter 1. Crime Fiction as Political Metaphor
  • Chapter 2. Spies and Holy War: Jihad and World War I
  • Chapter 3. Holy War and Empire: Fu Manchu in Cairo
  • Chapter 4. The Publishing Explosion and James Bond
  • Chapter 5. Secular Jihad: International Terrorism and Economic Destabilization
  • Chapter 6. The American Crusade Against Terror
  • Chapter 7. Jihad, the Apocalypse, and Back Again
  • Notes
  • Fiction Bibliography
  • Nonfiction Works Cited and Consulted
  • Index

Editorial Reviews

"For anyone who has a taste for either spy novels or the presentation of Middle Easterners in popular culture, this is a fascinating read." - Richard Bulliet, Professor of History, Columbia University