Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
The Failure of Political Islam

The Failure of Political Islam

Olivier Roy

Translated by Carol Volk

ISBN 9780674291416

Publication date: 08/19/1998

Olivier Roy demonstrates that the Islamic Fundamentalism of today is still the Third Worldism of the 1960s: populist politics and mixed economies of laissez-faire for the rich and subsidies for the poor. In Roy’s striking formulation, those marching today beneath Islam’s green banners are the same as the “reds” of yesterday, with similarly dim prospects of success. Richly informed, powerfully argued, and clearly written, this is a book that no one trying to understand Islam can afford to overlook.


  • Is theocracy really the future of the world’s one billion Muslims? Or should it be? …Never has the question been as brilliantly argued as in Olivier Roy’s L’echec de l’Islam politique, now available in a superb English translation as The Failure of Political Islam. His closely reasoned, original and unsentimental conclusion is that political Islam has already failed—that ‘Islamism’ has already atrophied into a sterile, hypocritical—and very Western—neofundamentalism… The Failure of Political Islam addresses the history, sociology, economy and ‘geostrategy’ of political Islam, with excellent case studies of Iran and Afghanistan… [A] daring exploration… This book is a corrective of stunning power.

    —Peter Theroux, Boston Book Review


  • Olivier Roy is Researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris and the author of Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan.

Book Details

  • 256 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Harvard University Press