- Hot Topic
While the rating tells you how good a book is according to our two core criteria, it says nothing about its particular defining features. Therefore, we use a set of 20 qualities to characterize each book by its strengths:
Applicable – You’ll get advice that can be directly applied in the workplace or in everyday situations.
Analytical – You’ll understand the inner workings of the subject matter.
Background – You’ll get contextual knowledge as a frame for informed action or analysis.
Bold – You’ll find arguments that may break with predominant views.
Comprehensive – You’ll find every aspect of the subject matter covered.
Concrete Examples – You’ll get practical advice illustrated with examples of real-world applications or anecdotes.
Controversial – You’ll be confronted with strongly debated opinions.
Eloquent – You’ll enjoy a masterfully written or presented text.
Engaging – You’ll read or watch this all the way through the end.
Eye opening – You’ll be offered highly surprising insights.
For beginners – You’ll find this to be a good primer if you’re a learner with little or no prior experience/knowledge.
For experts – You’ll get the higher-level knowledge/instructions you need as an expert.
Hot Topic – You’ll find yourself in the middle of a highly debated issue.
Innovative – You can expect some truly fresh ideas and insights on brand-new products or trends.
Insider’s take – You’ll have the privilege of learning from someone who knows her or his topic inside-out.
Inspiring – You’ll want to put into practice what you’ve read immediately.
Overview – You’ll get a broad treatment of the subject matter, mentioning all its major aspects.
Scientific – You’ll get facts and figures grounded in scientific research.
Visionary – You’ll get a glimpse of the future and what it might mean for you.
Well structured – You’ll find this to be particularly well organized to support its reception or application.
To outsiders, understanding the Sunni-Shia divide – an inscrutable, centuries-old conflict that seemingly sprang up from nowhere – often feels like an exercise in futility. For those living in Middle Eastern hot spots, however, sectarian identity can be a matter of life and death. In this compilation of essays, experts weigh in on the evolution of the Sunni-Shia split over the years, exploring how key events like America’s invasion of Iraq and the Arab Spring helped spread sectarian-based strife. The essays feature a variety of perspectives and contexts. They include discussion of Iran’s role in the conflict, Lebanon’s imperfect, yet noteworthy political model and the proliferation of sectarian rhetoric on Twitter. While this study compiles an admirable array of analyses, the writing styles are uneven. Some contributors’ content is engaging, but others serve up prose that is turgid and unwelcoming. Still, patient readers will gain valuable insights into a core conflict that has roiled Middle Eastern politics over the past decade.
About the Author
Frederic Wehrey is a senior fellow in the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the author of Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprising (2013).