Suppose the Muslim world were to lose faith in Islam. Suppose that Muslims ignored the Koran, stopped going to mosque and dismissed Muhammad as a blood thirsty warlord and slave trader. How would the Catholic Church respond? Would Church leaders greet the news enthusiastically, and declare their solidarity with the newly emancipated Iranians, Saudis, and […]
Strange Rebels shows how the world we live in today began to take shape in this pivotal year. 1979 saw a series of counterrevolutions against the progressive consensus that had dominated the postwar era. The year's epic upheavals embodied a startling conservative challenge to communist and socialist systems around the globe, fundamentally transforming politics and economics worldwide. In China, 1979 marked the start of sweeping market-oriented reforms that have made the country the economic powerhouse it is today.
1979 was also the year that Pope John Paul II traveled to Poland, confronting communism in Eastern Europe by reigniting its people's suppressed Catholic faith. In Iran, the Islamic Revolution transformed the nation into a theocracy almost overnight, overthrowing the shah's modernizing monarchy.
Farther west, Margaret Thatcher became prime minister of Britain, returning it to a purer form of free-market capitalism and opening the way for Ronald Reagan to do the same in the United States. And in Afghanistan, a Soviet invasion fueled an Islamic holy war with global consequences; the Afghan mujahedin presaged the rise of al-Qaeda and served as a key factor in the fall of communism. Weaving the story of each of these counterrevolutions into a gripping narrative, Strange Rebels is a groundbreaking account of how these far-flung events and disparate actors and movements gave birth to our modern age.