Summary of Forces of Fortune

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

Forces of Fortune book summary


9 Overall

9 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


Since September 11, 2001, the media has saturated Westerners with information about radical Islam. Many people view Islam as a monolithically fundamentalist creed whose followers hate the West. International politics professor Vali Nasr addresses this misconception, explaining that the members of the expanding Muslim middle class, notably in Iran, Pakistan, Turkey and Dubai (as seen before its economic woes), want many of the same things that Westerners want, but within an Islamic framework. Readers may find this unexpected, but Nasr makes the journey understandable by serving as economist, investigator and tour guide. getAbstract, which recommends books but takes no stand on politics or religion (the opinions in the summary are those of the book's author), suggests his solid analysis particularly to those interested in these four breaking-news countries. While Nasr thinks religious extremism has peaked, he believes Islam is not yet ready for Western-type religious reform, though he sees that as a potential future path. He predicts that religious moderation will slowly evolve to trump fundamentalism, but that change must come from within the Muslim community.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Which events fueled the rise of Islamic fundamentalism
  • What factors drive moderate Islam’s growth
  • Why the rise of the Muslim middle class is so important, particularly in Iran, Pakistan, Turkey and Dubai

About the Author

Tufts University professor Vali Nasr is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior fellow for the Dubai Initiative at Harvard University. The author of The Shia Revival, Democracy in Iran and Islamic Leviathan, he writes for major U.S. newspapers.



The Force of Fundamentalism
Two milestone dates mark the growth of Islamic fundamentalism: Ayatollah Khomeini’s return to Iran in 1979 and the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Since then, Islamic fundamentalism has become a violent, prevalent force in many Muslim...

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

More by category