John W Kiser.  Telling stories others don't

Scholars have this to say about Kiser’s latest books (Commander and Monks)

From Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington DC

Hi John,

I enjoyed reading your book and was so encouraged by the commander. As you can imagine the third section was my favorite: it testified to the possibility of deep humaneness between convicted Muslims and confessing Christians and genuine compassion between God’s diverse children. Thank you for this gift.

The course will have Christian pastors from various parts of the country. They will read your book alongside Deepak Chopra’s novel on the Buddha.

It has much promise for theological students, religious leaders and academics in religion as we strain to imagine models of interreligious friendship and mutual service.

Best regards
Sathi
Sathi Clarke
Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington DC


From Georgetown University

John,

I think you do an excellent job of synthesizing a plethora of different sources, and bringing to life not only the complex persona of Abd al-Qadir, but the harsh realities of colonial occupation and resistance. The text is fluid and does not overwhelm the reader, despite the richness of the details in which you delve. I enjoyed reading it.

The book is essentially "presentist" to the extent that it is not at all divorced from contemporary, post-9/11 issues and debates, and you are very successful in drawing the continuities between the struggles of Abd al-Qadir and more recent predicaments. I think you could have done more in this regard: I would have like to read a few more pages of summing up with the big picture in mind.

Osama Abi-Mershed
Department of History
North African Studies
Georgetown University


From Merrimack College, MA

Dear Mr. Kiser:

I thought that you would perhaps like to know that your impact on Merrimack College has found yet another way to manifest itself. I chose Commander of the Faithful as a text for the course because it exhibits a rare combination of scholarship and readability, because its subject is such a striking example of virtue, Islamic, Arabic, and human, and because the parallels between the French engagement with that part of the Islamic world at that time and our own in other parts and now, though not perfect, are so thought-provoking.

Thank you for your good work.

Richard

P.S. One more thought on the “rare combination of scholarship and readability”: while I always hope that my students will learn from the reading I assign, I am now daring to hope that they will not only learn from their reading of Commander of the Faithful but actually enjoy themselves doing so.

Richard E. Hennessey, Ph.D., Director
Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Program
Merrimack College
North Andover, MA 01845
richard.hennessey@merrimack,edu
978-837-5277


Dear John,

As the organizer and promoter of the annual Cassiciacum Dialogue sponsored by the Center for Augustinian Study and Legacy at Merrimack College, I am happy to inform you that the topic of this year's dialogue is your 2002 book. Thank you again for this outstanding, compelling, and enlightening book.

Best wishes for you and your work in the new year,

George Heffernan

Professor of Philosophy
Merrimack College


From Catholic Theological Union

Dear Ms Mehdi:

I write to tell you how thrilled I am over your proposed film project focusing on the story of the seven monks of Tibhirine. I only began to understand that they were truly martyrs of interreligious reconcilation when i read John Kiser’s marvelous book, The Monks of Tibhirine; Faith Love and Terror in Algeria (St Martin’s Press). Before I finished it, I knew that it would be on the syllabus of my History of Muslim Christian Relations course for years to come… I am thoroughly convinced that the story of the monks and the Algerian people to whom they dedicated their lives is perhaps one of the greatest and most desperately-needed stories of our time… The monks witness clearly shows that we are at our religious best when we allow our faith traditions to call us to be transformed by those who are different than ourselves, and when we allow ourselves to discover in this difference, the redeeming force of God’s love.

Sincerely Yours,

Scott Alexander
Associate Professor of Islam
Director, Catholic- Muslim Studies


From Zaytuna Institute

Dear John,

I hope this finds you in good health. I was very happy as I am currently reading you book on Emir A.Q., who I have been reading for over twenty years. One of his books has been by my bedside for some time. Your work is most excellent and timely. I hope it gets a widespread distribution and reading.

Yours,

Hamza Yusuf
Zaytuna Institute
Berkeley Cal


From University of Nebraska

John,

I love your book, which is perfect for my class.  I should have you guest lecture via skype, if you have it… I will have 80 students next year.

James LeSueur
Professor of History
University of Nebraska