The Spiders of Allah: Travels of an Unbeliever on the

The Spiders of Allah: Travels of an Unbeliever on the Frontline of Holy War ☀ The Spiders of Allah: Travels of an Unbeliever on the Frontline of Holy War PDF / Epub ✍ Author James Hider – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk In his fascinating, terrifying and often very funny book, James Hider takes his doubts about religious beliefs straight into the dark heart of the world s holy wars from Israel to Gaza to Iraq the bir In his fascinating, terrifying and often very of Allah: PDF/EPUB ã funny book, James Hider The Spiders PDF/EPUB ² takes his doubts about religious beliefs straight into the dark heart of Spiders of Allah: eBook ´ the world s holy wars from Israel to Gaza to Iraq the birthplace that spawned so many faiths and then back to Jerusalem From hardcore Zionist settlers still fighting ancient Biblical battles in the hills of the West.


About the Author: James Hider

I have always been fascinated by what of Allah: PDF/EPUB ã you might call the The Spiders PDF/EPUB ² pathology of ideas how they mutate as different societies inherit, steal or Spiders of Allah: eBook ´ are infected by foreign concepts, customs and gods How a Disney character can become an icon of Islamist martyrdom, how we invent gods because we are afraid of dying, then end up dying for these invented gods Having seen at first hand, and all too often, the most extreme results of these ever warping ideas, I sat down and tried to write about them in Spiders of Allah, the result of seven years covering conflict across the Middle East Because the history of the region stretches back so far, the ideas that have come out of it have had millennia to warp and twist You can see front lines that date back thousands of years, and which are still being fought over, affecting people s lives around the world And what really fascinated me was, what if many of these central ideas are not only absurd, but extremely dangerous After Spiders was published, I covered the Arab Spring, and for a while there on Tahrir Square and Benghazi, I was hopeful the rational might sweep away the power of the supernatural Unfortunately, the subsequent chaos in the region has shown the abiding power of religious division, sectarianism and the deep seated power of hatred and fear.



10 thoughts on “The Spiders of Allah: Travels of an Unbeliever on the Frontline of Holy War

  1. Casey Casey says:

    I entered the giveaway for this book mainly because of I thought the cover art was by Ralph Steadman I was completely wrong.When I re read the synopsis of the book after winning I thought I d be getting a non fiction book that would add some religious and historical context to middle eastern conflicts I was mostly wrong.I enjoyed the two chapters that discussed the Israeli Palestinian conflict and some of the religious history behind it Then the book takes a nearly 200 pg diversion into Iraq, I entered the giveaway for this book mainly because of I thought the cover art was by Ralph Steadman I was completely wrong.When I re read the synopsis of the book after winning I thought I d be getting a non fiction book that would add some religious and historical context to middle eastern conflicts I was mostly wrong.I enjoyed the two chapters that discussed the Israeli Palestinian conflict and some of the religious history behind it Then the book takes a nearly 200 pg diversion into Iraq, largely ignoring religion aside from occasional Sunni Shiite tidbits , in favor of the standard Iraq war stuff of Saddam brutality, military embeds, translator fixers, and the general extreme journo bravado that pops up a lot with Iraq War correspondents I m looking at you Lara Logan I wasn t really interested for the same reasons I stopped watching Generation Kill after two episodes I have information overload connected to the Iraq War Sorry dude Too late.The book was ok, and it was free, but ultimately couldn t escape the gonzo cloud that it was branded with Too often new gonzo authors ahem, Matt Taibbi come off as imitators rather than followers I should probably learn to avoid books labeled this way andgenerally continue to avoid war non fiction


  2. Elisabet Cairo Elisabet Cairo says:

    I thought this was an anti Islam book and the title certainly does suggest that so I did not plan to read it I read it as research for a story I am writing and found the book is about the spiders of God Allah means God and the word is not particular to Islam and the misuse of religion whether it be Christianity, Islam, or Judaism to divide people and move them to commit heinous crimes against one another All religions teach love so we can only believe that people claim by words to serve God, I thought this was an anti Islam book and the title certainly does suggest that so I did not plan to read it I read it as research for a story I am writing and found the book is about the spiders of God Allah means God and the word is not particular to Islam and the misuse of religion whether it be Christianity, Islam, or Judaism to divide people and move them to commit heinous crimes against one another All religions teach love so we can only believe that people claim by words to serve God, but, in reality, their actions prove that their agenda has nothing to do with God.This book is well written and informative As a Muslim, I was never offended or felt the author was anti Muslim He stated what he saw and experienced facts, not opinions


  3. Dave Dave says:

    James Hider has written an interesting and engaging look at the Middle East, Journalism, and even a bit of psychiatry With a title like The Spiders of Allah and a subtitle of Travels of an Unbeliever on the Frontline of Holy War one might think that this was going to be yet another attack on Religion in general, and Islam in particular, but that is not the case Of course, there are moments when he takes on some questionable religious practices, in particular in the final chapter, but his c James Hider has written an interesting and engaging look at the Middle East, Journalism, and even a bit of psychiatry With a title like The Spiders of Allah and a subtitle of Travels of an Unbeliever on the Frontline of Holy War one might think that this was going to be yet another attack on Religion in general, and Islam in particular, but that is not the case Of course, there are moments when he takes on some questionable religious practices, in particular in the final chapter, but his comments are relatively balanced when one considers that the majority of this book focuses on the war in Iraq, and frankly the tone of most of the book is stories from a journalist reporting on the war and have nothing to do with religion.In the introduction, Hider compares the real inhuman crimes of Al Qaeda with those dreamt up by Hollywood From there Hider takes us quickly through his time in Israel with a couple of short chapters From there on, almost the entire book focuses on Iraq and the stories of Hider s time there I don t want to imply that religion does not play a role in these stories, because of course it does Religion is certainly a backdrop to most of the problems of that region However, many of the stories are not about religion, but rather a complete lack of moral guidance being displayed by any of the participants At one point in the book, Hider is compelled to leave the region himself, because he caught himself dismissing the execution murder of people and instead was irate about how it caused a traffic jam One can only wonder at how seeing such horrible acts and scenes everyday would affect one s mind, and that story helps one understand how people can become desensitized to violence.The last chapter is significantly different than those which came before, as James Hider looks at humanity, i.e homo sapiens, and why we are able to believe so strongly in things we cannot prove exist It is an interesting look at popular culture, history, fact, and fiction It leads perfectly into the Epilogue which takes a look at the Palestinian Israeli situation from a different perspective On the whole, this was a very good book and an interesting look at a conflict which has gone on for thousands of years I think some of the sections could have been improved with some better editing, or perhaps some rewriting, and perhaps that will take place before the book is published


  4. Joanna Joanna says:

    The title and the promise of this book is somewhat misleading I have expected a book on religoulous fundamentalism in the Middle East, but this is rather a war diary from Iraq with some commentaries on the fundamentalism It is well written and interesting, but it s not what the book cover promises Having said that, I am glad that I have read it, because it adds a human face to the news on tv, and has got few thought provoking points Although Hider is an atheist, he is not aggressive in his w The title and the promise of this book is somewhat misleading I have expected a book on religoulous fundamentalism in the Middle East, but this is rather a war diary from Iraq with some commentaries on the fundamentalism It is well written and interesting, but it s not what the book cover promises Having said that, I am glad that I have read it, because it adds a human face to the news on tv, and has got few thought provoking points Although Hider is an atheist, he is not aggressive in his writing about religious believes, and I like that He seemed to be stunned by what kind of atrocities some people can do in the name of God and not just The Spiders of Allah , but Christians and Jews too.The first two chapters are about Israeli Palestinian conflict, its historical and biblical roots, as well as about today s fight for God s land The rest of the book is on Iraq I liked Hider s unusual take on the beginnings of first civilization in Mesopotamia, this kind of commentary was what I was hoping for In the last chapters he writes about atheism and some biological and neurobiological theories why people believe, but this somehow didn t feel like it should be in this book What I have found interesting in his closing chapters was the new theory supported by latest DNA testings about Jews and Palestinians that the Palestinians are really the descendents of those Jews who didn t leave their land Ironic, isn t it Summarizing, I liked the book, but I think the author should have done a better job of editing his war diaries to fit the promise of the book


  5. Jogar01 Jogar01 says:

    James Hider does a good job in writing about the irrationality of religious believes in the Middle East, specifically in Iraq, Palestine, and Israel Through out the book he also comments on the irracionality of the Western Christian believes in attempting to comprehend and explain the world through the eyes of a god The most powerful passages of the book, in my opinion, are the ones when Hider is embedded with the US Army and witnesses the state of humanity we are obsessed with violence The James Hider does a good job in writing about the irrationality of religious believes in the Middle East, specifically in Iraq, Palestine, and Israel Through out the book he also comments on the irracionality of the Western Christian believes in attempting to comprehend and explain the world through the eyes of a god The most powerful passages of the book, in my opinion, are the ones when Hider is embedded with the US Army and witnesses the state of humanity we are obsessed with violence The soldiers wait in their military vehicle glued to a screen watching the broadcasts of a drone ripping Iraquis apart, wounded soldiers playing virtual war in their PS3 or XBox360, Iraquis willing to blow themselves up, others whipping themselves with swords, etc Overall a good read on the irracionaility of religious beliefs and the effects of real and simulated violence on people


  6. Katherine Katherine says:

    I really enjoyed reading this book The story of the war is told from a perspective I hadn t really heard before The book is less about the war andabout the interactions of different religions and societies It highlights the history of the area and the history of religion in the area without getting bogged down in long narratives It is introspective and it is funny I didn t expect that from a book about a war torn societies It s obvious that the author has spent a lot of time in area I really enjoyed reading this book The story of the war is told from a perspective I hadn t really heard before The book is less about the war andabout the interactions of different religions and societies It highlights the history of the area and the history of religion in the area without getting bogged down in long narratives It is introspective and it is funny I didn t expect that from a book about a war torn societies It s obvious that the author has spent a lot of time in areas experiencing a lot of upheaval he talks about how overwhelming it is, but it s obvious that he is drawn there and finds it fulfilling I liked that about the book It talks about the good and the bad of both sides, of understandings and misunderstandings, and because of that it is a lot easier to get a feel for how huge and complex the problems facing the area are


  7. Jj Sutherland Jj Sutherland says:

    James Hider s Spiders of Allah is one of those books that could only be written by someone who has been there I ve spent quite a bit of time in the Middle East and Mr Hider captures the surrealism of the place in a book hilarious, well told, and at time sobering Highly recommended for anyone who wants to get a feel for the Middle East that lies behind the headlines, and the mentalities that drive them.


  8. Kriegslok Kriegslok says:

    Picked this up for a few pence at a lost property sale and didn t expect much of it It turned out to be an interesting read and a bit different in perspective from some of the other stuff I ve read on the conflicts covered Hider provides what feels to be a pretty honest gut based retelling of his time in the religious war zones from a position highly critical of the role of fundamentalist religion, and religion in general, in peoples lives You get a harrowing picture of lives lost to blinke Picked this up for a few pence at a lost property sale and didn t expect much of it It turned out to be an interesting read and a bit different in perspective from some of the other stuff I ve read on the conflicts covered Hider provides what feels to be a pretty honest gut based retelling of his time in the religious war zones from a position highly critical of the role of fundamentalist religion, and religion in general, in peoples lives You get a harrowing picture of lives lost to blinkered fanaticism that drains the life from practitioners and coerces others on pain of death into the same brainlessness At the same time there is a glimpse of the cynical use of religious fundamentalism in the settling of score and the familiar profit motive I was once again struck by how the lack of access to information and encouragement to free thinking has created generations who are littlethan fodder for blind obedience to creeds that do not allow questioning be those ancient or contemporary something Hider never really touches on but perhaps it s too obvious Reading the book yet again you get a sense of just how out of touch with reality the US was when it decided to wade into its latest bloody crusade and the feeling is once again reinforced that this wasa religiously inspired adventure than a planned military operation by the worlds foremost military power God is on our side, they are evil doers, the USA will triumph as it is the avenging angel chosen by God to free the world of terrorists etc Hider recalls GW Bush and his conversations with a God who gives him his marching orders The book is a graphic record of the decent into utter madness of a country torn apart and its people mangled and murdered for decades Towards the end of the book Hider getsphilosophical and I think effectively makes his point which will be as lost now as it has been for centuries We are all the same meat machines We live, we die Along the way we are recruited, beaten, terrorised by the evolving grey matter that has made us the complex creatures we are and which seems to have created within us a predisposition for flights of deadly fantasy Hider chronicles a brief moment in the history of human madness that is and probably always will be with us however much the sane and enlightened rail against it


  9. Caitlin Caitlin says:

    This is a stranger in a strange land tale at its best there are shades of Michael Herr s Vietnam classic, Dispatches crossed with Alexis de Tocqueville s ruminations on 19th century America Hider, the Middle East bureau chief for the Times of London provides a solid journalistic portrait of post Saddam Iraq.I appreciated Mr Hider s clear but not always dispassionate writing his keen eye for the ridiculous or ironic detail There were times in reading this when I laughed out loud garnering This is a stranger in a strange land tale at its best there are shades of Michael Herr s Vietnam classic, Dispatches crossed with Alexis de Tocqueville s ruminations on 19th century America Hider, the Middle East bureau chief for the Times of London provides a solid journalistic portrait of post Saddam Iraq.I appreciated Mr Hider s clear but not always dispassionate writing his keen eye for the ridiculous or ironic detail There were times in reading this when I laughed out loud garnering many raised eyebrows on BART He also has a nice sense of history I am still shuddering to think of the amount of looting utter destruction of archaeological sites that has occurred in this cradle of civilization.This makes a nice companion piece to Rajiv Chandrasekaran s excellent account of life in the Green Zone, Imperial Life in the Emerald City Inside Iraq s Green Zone Throw in Generation Kill Chasing Ghosts for the soldier s perspective you ll be well informed about our involvement in Iraq from multiple viewpoints It won t make you feel any better about it all, but it ll help you put some context to your thoughts about it


  10. Kerfe Kerfe says:

    A mesmerizing book about the dangerous intersection between human religions and the ability to co exist peacefully well, it turns out to be an inablity, as the world continues to experience and witness The bulk of the action occurs in Iraq after God tells George Bush to impose his world view over Saddam s Each chapter reinforces the folly and resulting horrors, with no sympathy for any ideology But Hider also traces the current Middle Eastern conflicts through Gods and beliefs both ancient a A mesmerizing book about the dangerous intersection between human religions and the ability to co exist peacefully well, it turns out to be an inablity, as the world continues to experience and witness The bulk of the action occurs in Iraq after God tells George Bush to impose his world view over Saddam s Each chapter reinforces the folly and resulting horrors, with no sympathy for any ideology But Hider also traces the current Middle Eastern conflicts through Gods and beliefs both ancient and forgotten and gradually transformed into the Jewish Muslim Christian conflicts of 2009 It is bloody, senseless, and truely insane This would seem to be obvious yet, obviously, it is not.If you are suspicious of the truth and resulting actions of any or all of the world s competing religions, there is probably nothing real new in these narratives It will confirm your horrified helplessness and anger And if you are among those who feel their God is the only true and just one, it will most likely not convert you to open minded tolerance.But witnesses need to bear their unbearable stories And these are important ones, told with all the skill of a fast paced novel.Platoon Sargeant Carlos Santilla, in his heartbreaking realism, provides a kind of Everyman s guide to survival in these crazy and dangerous times All I say is, don t be afraid of dying, but don t go looking for it If only the world s leaders possessed that much wisdom


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