My Review of “The Clash of Civilizations” by Samuel Huntington


Well, sometimes we read a book simply because every body does. Just like me with this one. I read it because this article said that it’s one of books in the reading list of students in top campuses like Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, etc. So I gave Huntington a try.

This book tells about fundamental civilizations globally. Interestingly, by just reading this book, we can be more acknowledged with role of each nation in this world and how they affect each other (which make me also want to learn again about maps and upgrade my geographical skill!! Ha ha >,<).

By following the stories, we can observe that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural (region, ethnic group, religious groups, all have distinct cultures at different levels of cultural heterogeneity). Or as R.R.Palmer said, “The wars of kings were over, the wars of people had begun”. The next world war, if there is one, will be a war between civilizations.

“The West and The Rest”. This polarization are also emerging yet I don’t really support this. Our people should not be manipulated and utilized by certain purpose of irresponsible party. Remember what happen with Iraq. “The struggle against American aggression, greed, plans, and policies will be counted as jihad and anybody who is killed on that path is a martyr”. “This is a war”, King Hussein of Jordan argued, “against all Arabs and all Muslims and not against Iraq alone”. The question is.. “is that really true??”. Or… Just like Western leaders who claim they are acting on behalf of “the world community”, the very phrase that become a euphemism to give legitimacy to the actions of them.. Do you really think that is right?? Or with what happened in Indonesia.. when Ahok is suspected to do… well, never mind -.- (I don’t wanna talk about it).

We should think more clearly in seeing diversities around us and be a part of civilization that embrace all the differences with an objective and a good way. That’s the least what I learned from this piece of Huntington. Go read by yourself.

In the middle of (very) bad times,

and I’m reading book about conflicts, instead


(For other reviews:

Also read: Review of “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg


2 thoughts on “My Review of “The Clash of Civilizations” by Samuel Huntington

  1. IMHO this book proposed several dangerous ideas. It’s too divisive in its mindset. And its concept of the “bloody borders of Islam” is too generalising. A fuel that has been used by anti-Islam movements for the past decades. I recommend that read the book “A World Without Islam” by Graham E. Fuller next, Han. It shows that the many conflicts in the Middle East are cultural by nature, not religiously driven.

    • Aha.. I just read the other cited pieces of Huntington, and knew that he said provocative things afterward. Perhaps he was not really educated in the history of Islam, coz in his writings he routinely conflated being Arab with being Muslim, and vice versa. His theory is based on an outdated us-versus-them illogic. Guess I’ll revise my this post, maybe after read the book that you recommend. Thanks, om Ari! :3

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