Spies and Holy Wars: The Middle East in 20th Century Crime Fiction, by Reeva Spector Simon. University of Texas Press, 2010.
Terrorist or sheik? In her new book, Reeva Spector Simon—Professor of History, Yeshiva University–shows how the Middle Eastern villain evolved from malleable victim before World War II to international, techno-savvy figure in today’s crime novels. She explores the impact of James Bond, pulp fiction, and comic books and also analyzes the ways in which recent world events have developed the genre. From a sampling of over 800 British and American thrillers, Spies and Holy Wars illuminates a powerful intersection of popular culture and global politics, most notably the theme of jihad–an Islamic holy war or crusade against the West. These books, published over the past century, create a synthesis out of spy novels, crime fiction, and Western imperialism.
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