The Fight of Our Lives is a very recent book by William J. Bennett. I was at first very against this book’s message, and didn’t even want to finish it, but by the end my viewpoint has changed, at least slightly. That being said, I still don’t recommend the book. Choose for yourself in the review following.
The author begins with very categorical, harsh statements. Such passages like ‘diversity is bad for America’ and claims that politicians these days are useless turned me off from the book’s message. I realize that the point Bennett is trying to get across is something that needs firm language. But in my opinion, the book is unnecessarily critical of the entire government and its stance on terrorism.
The author examines the present-day political situation and ultimately emerges with the conclusion that America has lost its foundation. He cites examples such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, who led America through World War II, keeping a strong hand on the enemy. Bennett bemoans our current day leaders, who are so politically correct that they will not even mention the words terrorism or Islam. He calls for a return to the values ‘of old’ which produced the afore-mentioned leader.
This messages I certainly agree with. Bennett says that it is time we start calling terrorism what it is. He urges Americans to recognize that most terrorist attacks against the United States are done in the name of Islam. Yet leaders are not willing to even say the word ‘terrorism’ anymore, let alone coupled with the word ‘Islam.’ The fact remains that these terrorist attacks are almost always declared and committed in the name of Allah, or Islam. Of course, the author is careful not to make a blanket statement which condemns all Muslims. He commends those who have stood up and condemned the acts of the terrorists.
Bennett also devotes a substantial part of the book to his disgust about moderate muslims; who will not condemn terrorism and sometimes indirectly support it. He warns Americans of specific examples of men such as Imam Rauf, who is building the ground-zero mosque. Such moderates, he writes, have ‘infiltrated’ our society and are a ‘sleeper cell’ of radical terrorism waiting to be awoken.
Another keystone of Bennett’s theme is that Islam itself must change. He is dead-set against the ‘misconception’ that Islam is a religion of peace. He examines Islam side by side with Judaism and Christianity, ultimately coming to the conclusion that it is the only monotheistic religion which is so violent. Terrorism and acts similar to it, he claims, are written into the DNA of Islam itself. His proposal to change this is somewhat surprising: change Islam itself. He calls for moderates and nominal Muslims to ‘rearrange’ Islam and update it, so to speak, thus making a clear-cut break between the radical Islam of the terrorists, and the Islam of the rest of the world.
But Bennett makes a big mistake with this book. A point he emphasizes time and time again is a return to America’s ‘values.’ What he seems to miss, though claiming to be a Christian, is what these values are. The Founding Fathers of our nation were strong Christian men, who read and studied the Bible. The United States is intertwined inextricably with Christianity. The Bible condemns sin, without a doubt. But I think Bennett gets confused in this book, and begins hating the sinners, rather than the sin.
Reading this book was definitely an eye-opening experience for me. The book was certainly interesting, and did alert me to several situations that are present in today’s world. But overall, Bennett’s harsh tone and style made this book a grating read. I went into I braced not to listen to anything he wrote; such was the impression the first paragraph gave me. That is not the impression an author wants to give. I see the value in certain parts of his message; but I would urge you to take the message and apply it yourself; and save yourself the time of reading the book.
Note: This book was provided to us for free through Booksneeze. They provide free copies of books for us to review and we are very grateful for their service.
Published on 2 April, 2011. Last updated on