It's a relief that the author found his way out of this darkness and confusion and now has some freedom and joy - as well as love. Yes, Christianity should be the opposite of the Islamic oppression the author experienced. A great story: If people are smart enough to realize what the author was clearly getting across. View 1 comment. Sep 01, Kelsey rated it it was ok. I have to separate my evaluation of the book overall from what I gained from it.
Minor spoilers below. The writing itself is thoroughly average. The author attempts to create a cliffhanger approximately once per page. The most extreme example on page reads, "Fifteen days later, I summoned the guts and sent al-Husein the manuscript. And waited. It was from al-Husein. Additionally, a consistent reading level was not maintained-- most of the book seemed very conversational, but then very academic vocabulary would be thrown in so that it just seemed pretentious.
Though I had a basic understanding of Islam's core principles before reading, I now have a clearer picture of the number of sects that exist within Islam and how "radical Islam" differs theologically from "progressive Islam", though I would like to speak more with Muslim acquaintances about their own experiences. It was also a valuable read in that I recognized how spiritual experiences of individuals in other faiths, particularly along the lines of doubt, expression of faith, etc. Dec 19, Angela rated it liked it Shelves: nonfiction , religion , auto-biography , Despite this book's wooden, step-by-step instructional manual style, I was fairly riveted and stayed up till 4 am finishing it, mostly because I could relate to the author's swift descent into a fundamentalist religious viewpoint.
And just like Ross, it only lasted about a year before I got my wits back. The problem with positing a sacred text and its authoritarian expositors as a manual for life is that when you logically ag Despite this book's wooden, step-by-step instructional manual style, I was fairly riveted and stayed up till 4 am finishing it, mostly because I could relate to the author's swift descent into a fundamentalist religious viewpoint. The problem with positing a sacred text and its authoritarian expositors as a manual for life is that when you logically agree to follow one rule, you can quickly fall down the rabbit hole of more and more rules without any context or moderating influence.
Such seemed to be the case with Ross's descent into Salafism, or its more derogatory name, Wahhabism. Being new to the faith, he wanted to find its most authentic version. And he stumbled onto some "experienced" kooks with good textual evidence, and before he knew it, he was rolling up his pants above his ankles and refusing to shake his girlfriend's hand.
You can say he's weak-minded, and you might be right -- I certainly was. Not everyone is bulletproof and infallible.
Memoirs of a Spiritual Refugee
We all make mistakes; unfortunately, instead of chilling out and going back to moderate Islam, or just dropping out of religion altogether, Ross jumped back into another religion. And judging by his extremist impulses, I bet he ended up a fundamentalist Christian as well. Such is life. Nov 19, Ailish rated it did not like it Shelves: non-fiction. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The author is from a Jewish family in the US.
He embraced Islam and practised it in a variety of forms. Then he decided that he did not like it any more and became a Christian. He went on to work as a consultant on Islamic organisations and terrorism for a living. Any well-narrated personal story has the potential to be interesting, but, despite its overspun title, this book is dreadfully flat and the author comes across as a person easily swayed by others.
The author doesn't seem to have been ' The author is from a Jewish family in the US. The author doesn't seem to have been 'inside' radical Islam either. Indeed, he goes to great lengths to affirm that he often acted or kept silent out of a desire to fit in and to avoid criticism by others, and he repeatedly denies involvement in any illegal business in which other characters are alleged to have engaged.
Overall, despite all the soul-searching it records, the book feels opportunistic. Jun 20, Jenny rated it it was amazing Shelves: religion. After watching a film on radical Islam at my temple I went out that weekend and found this book. I had been frustrated with the film because of what I felt was an agenda to scare the viewer about Islam in general, and radical Islam in particular in defense of my temple and showing the film, it was meant to bring about discussion. So, I picked this up over the weekend, read it, and passed it on to my rabbi.
While not nearly an exhaustive or wide-ranging view of radical Islam, it does give the r After watching a film on radical Islam at my temple I went out that weekend and found this book. While not nearly an exhaustive or wide-ranging view of radical Islam, it does give the reader and idea of how a liberal, or moderate, Muslim can turn to more radical politics and beliefs. A fascinating read. The author has since left Islam and converted to Christianity. The author, brought up by free-thinking Jewish parents describes his conversion to Islam and his gradual participation in the radical side of the religion.
Originally, his conversion was partly because of a Muslim friend and their desire to promote a moderate version of Islam. However, after landing a job at a Muslim charity he finds his views challenged by the people he worked with. They were all very fundamentalist and over time he finds that their views are making more and more sense.
A very The author, brought up by free-thinking Jewish parents describes his conversion to Islam and his gradual participation in the radical side of the religion. A very interesting look at how easily a person can be influenced to abandon long held beliefs and be caught up in something he certainly didn't intend to. Jul 25, Martin added it. This might be the most poorly written book ever published.
The writer is a stupid, gullible wishy-washy moron, as is his family and his wife. The book is filled with "Little did I know what would soon happen" and "And I didn't know that would be the last time that There is no payoff after threatening one for the entirety of the book. He gets one star for educating me about some interesting details about Islam, about which what can I say that won't get a fatwa dum This might be the most poorly written book ever published. He gets one star for educating me about some interesting details about Islam, about which what can I say that won't get a fatwa dumped on my head?
How about this? I mean, Jesus. Nov 13, Allison rated it really liked it. This book was very interesting. It's a little scary, but I think it's important for people to understand the kind of threat these people pose and how easy it is for some people to be pulled into something like this.
Garenstein-Ross should not be seen as an aberration, but rather the norm. Psychologically, people cannot live in a situation where their beliefs contradict their actions. One has to change. Most of the time that turns out to be a person's beliefs. Sep 30, Tiffany rated it liked it. An interesting memoir detailing an American's successive spiritual struggles.
My Year Inside Radical Islam: A Memoir by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
While I wouldn't confuse this book with great literature - the author tends to fall into a few stylistic patterns that repeat - I found the account of the decent into radicalism moving. Mostly I found myself wishing for a bit more, a larger perspective, more compelling details.
Feb 11, Kandyce rated it liked it Shelves: religion , paperback-received. So much potential, but I got annoyed with the author's writing style. How many times is it necessary to foreshadow the path one will take before one actually takes it? In this book, anyway, the answer is: at just about the end of every paragraph. Jan 24, Daria rated it did not like it Shelves: memoirs. One star. So, the author learned about Islam, decided to convert to it, and then he "discovered" that he, as a Muslim, will have to follow the rules of Islam.
That's basically the plot. The intrigue is that he doesn't like the rules, and the suspense is that other Muslims he knows do. In between all that, the author likes overdramatizing banalities from office gossip, to pointless accidental encounters, to minor social events at the campus and so forth.
I was suspicious as soon as I read the tit One star. I was suspicious as soon as I read the title. I mean, how can you get in and out of anything "radical" within a year? We learn little from this book, beside the "revelation" that religious people range from liberal to conservative, and that their behavior ranges from tolerant to less so, etc.
The narrator keeps droning on and on about how he is confronted with the rules of his new religion in real life, how he doesn't like them, and how no one's sympathetic to his feelings. And then he whines about his feelings yet again. The book testifies to little beside one pampered guy's immaturity depicting his endless attempts at fitting it and struggling with a sense of isolation and inadequacy. The memoir just as terrible as M.
McCain's "Sexy, Dirty Politics," except it's written a tad better. Though all that repetitive vocabulary gave me a headache. If I hear one more time that some area was "dotted by trees" or that someone "looked at me quizzically Dec 13, Heidi rated it it was ok. Basically, a nice liberally-minded west coast boy born to hippie parents of Jewish heritage discovers a socially-progressive faction of Islam in college, and gets totally into it.
It just so happens that there is a fairly radical group of Wahabi Muslims in his Oregon hometown. He works for their nonprofit for a bit, and embraces their ideology for a time, because like peer-pressure, yo. He's also a wicked-good master of the art of debate. Let's not forget that Then Basically, a nice liberally-minded west coast boy born to hippie parents of Jewish heritage discovers a socially-progressive faction of Islam in college, and gets totally into it.
Then at some point he starts asking questions of his faith again and finds Jesus. The end. It's a mildly interesting memoir, if only in that he took a personal spiritual journey through a controversial sect of Islamic belief. It's a journey you don't often see.
That being said, I didn't really find him to be on the inside of much of anything in particular. You worked for radical Muslims, bro That's it. You tried on a Wahabi style thobe, and it didn't fit. You were a spiritual seeker, not a radical. Don't get it twisted, son. It would be the same book if al-Hussein was a Wiccan high-priestess named Ravenwinter Moonbear. Jan 07, Sarah rated it did not like it Shelves: politics.
Read for the reading challenge: read a political memoir I was really excited to read this book. It's a topic of interest to many people, especially now.
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I had no idea where this book was going to go, and I thought it would be a crazy ride. Instead, I got a book about a dude who worked for an organization that was raided over financial fraud? Also, the writing style was pretty horrendous. Like, what happens later? Aren't you gonna tell us? God, it was annoying. Feb 25, Felicia rated it liked it.
A center for radical Islam exists in southern Oregon? Although the author's transformation is somewhat startling and the book is engaging, I wondered how often his account was colored by the desire to appear above the influence of his fundamentalist Muslim I first heard about this story while watching the CNN series "God's Warriors.
Although the author's transformation is somewhat startling and the book is engaging, I wondered how often his account was colored by the desire to appear above the influence of his fundamentalist Muslim associates. The author constantly exhibits a state of some form of disbelief; I never felt like he fully embraced fundamentalism. The story was more of an account of the gradual journey in and out of a particularly demanding religion, and less of an insider account of radical Muslims, which was what I had been expecting.
It was an interesting book, but not something that I would particularly recommend. Jan 28, Tuscany Bernier rated it did not like it Shelves: i-could-not-finish-these. I've met these converts before who don't understand what radical Islam actually is. I mean, this guy was only Muslim for a year and pretends he knows all there is to know about it. I say this as a convert myself who has many people convert in and out of Islam. They seem to have the same personality. He was a tool for Wahhabi extremists and then felt like that was Islam. He acts like what the Middle East does is an indicator of what Islam teaches several times in the book.
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He's now Christian an I've met these converts before who don't understand what radical Islam actually is. He's now Christian and I get this feeling that he treats Christianity the same as Islam but he'll probably stick with it because it's easier to do so here. I was overall un-enthused by his lame attempt at a memoir. I mean, he really wasn't even in 'radical Islam'.
Oct 30, Matthew McKenna rated it did not like it. I can only read this in 3 page shifts now. There's nothing more detestable than someone who believes he is a good person falling victim to the world. Anyone who could adopt the horrible practices and beliefs of the most horrid parts of the Koran and Hadith for any period of time is either a victim of theological Stockholm Syndrome or a horrible person.
It's not just cognitive dissonance these people are guilty of its also ethical dissonance. This guy has such a sick need to be servile he would have I can only read this in 3 page shifts now. This guy has such a sick need to be servile he would have been right at home in the Hitler Youth. He was born a Jew and learned to accept the rabid antisemetism of a group that disseminates the Protocols of The Elders of Zion Wikipedia this if you're not familiar.
Fuck this guy. Not available in stores. The following ISBNs are associated with this title:. ISBN - X. ISBN - Look for similar items by category:. It's Here Now are You? Prices and offers may vary in store. For many years in the early ''70s Bhagavan Das moved through India and Nepal, embracing the austere life of a holy man, exploring Hinduism, Buddhism, transcendental meditation, tantra, worshipping the divine mother, and living under the loving blanket of his guru, Neem Karoli Baba.
Only twenty-five years old when he returned home to the States as a celebrity, he found himself traveling on the "guru circuit" with Ram Dass, Allen Ginsberg, Jerry Garcia, and Timothy Leary--living more like a rock star than the saint he was proclaimed to be. In compelling detail, Bhagavan Das explores the tortuous journey that led him from his quest for the sacred to his spiritual death and eventual rebirth.
About The Author. Bhagavan Das was born in Laguna Beach, California. He is a frequent speaker and performer at gatherings around the country.
Title: It's Here Now are You? Select Parent Grandparent Teacher Kid at heart. Age of the child I gave this to:. Hours of Play:. Tell Us Where You Are:. Preview Your Review. Thank you. Your review has been submitted and will appear here shortly. Extra Content. Read from the Book I woke up one morning with my girls and my cows and found a Danish hippie standing over us. He said, "There''s this guy in town giving everyone LSD.
Everybody gets eight hits. His name is Richard Alpert.
News about these two renegade college professors with a mysterious new mind-altering drug had made it all the way here, to the seventh century. I was excited because I''d always wanted to try LSD. I knew I had to meet this guy. I got dressed and headed into town. There was a restaurant called the Blue Tibetan where foreigners often hung out. People would go in, roll hashish cigarettes, and connect with each other. I sat at a table against the wall and ordered some tea. I''d been in there for about ten minutes when this big, gangly, bald-headed American walked in the door.
Another Westerner and a short Indian man followed. All three had on brand-new, freshly pressed, clean clothing. They stood out like color characters in a black-and-white movie. They looked at me as they walked by and then sat down at the back. Richard Alpert had his back to me and a tape recorder on the table next to him.
They kept staring at me, so I got up and walked over. I sat down next to Richard, who was fiddling with his tape recorder--checking the batteries, popping them in and out, pushing the buttons--and never acknowledging me. He seemed so nervous. I thought, "This is truly one of the most uptight persons I''ve ever met. Folks in that area called me Dharma Sara, my Buddhist name. I mentioned the LSD, and they invited me back to their room for a hit. They were staying at the five-star hotel in Kathmandu called the Soalti, built by one of the king''s sons.
Fifteen stories tall, it was the largest building in Kathmandu, and it overlooked the entire valley. My hosts offered me room service. I could have anything I wanted, so I ordered a peach Melba. And so we began the "forum": a male power head trip. Talk about male bonding. It was this incredible ongoing philosophical talk that went on all day and night. It was so intense! Harish would roll hash cigarettes to keep things flowing. We discussed what was going on in America, kundalini and sexual energy, God, and the Divine Mother.
It seemed as though we talked about everything. Richard and David were two intense Jewish intellectuals. It was an unbelievably diverse dialogue among the four of us about the mysteries of the universe, including Hinduism and Buddhism. We talked about The Tibetan Book of the Dead and about different states of consciousness. Then there was the book Serpent Power, which dealt with kundalini yoga. What did it all mean? We were all over the place in our conversation. But the crown on the queen was LSD. Richard was convinced that LSD was the spiritual soma, the nectar of immortality, the spiritual substance that comes through alchemy.
In that alchemical state, the drug produces an incredible vision, a heightened awareness, a sense of timelessness, and an opening into another dimension. Richard had come to India to find out about this soma and what came after it.