From life along the Tigris River in the 1970s to the ongoing Arab Spring uprisings, Phil Karber has witnessed decades of change throughout the Middle East. Fear and Faith in Paradise draws on his wealth of experience to sketch a timely and compelling portrait of the region throughout history. Going beyond the endless images of terrorism and war, he challenges pervasive stereotypes of Muslims and delves into the living history and cultures of Arabs, Turks, Kurds, Persians, Jews, Tunisians, Moroccans, Armenians, and others.
Seamlessly moving between past and present, Karber skillfully develops two overarching themes: How America's footprint can be shifted from a military to a humanitarian emphasis and how fear is used as a cudgel by today’s monotheistic leaders to sacrifice the faithful. Whether Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, they all invoke their own vision of paradise, often as incentive, in hopeless conflicts that seem doomed to be repeated. Karber’s down-to-earth writing vividly conveys the region’s charm and beauty against a backdrop of power struggles among competing faiths, nationalisms, and outside forces.