The Assassins

i finished this book a while back, i cant remember the authors name off-hand, but he is a princeton professor who has written a great deal on middle eastern history

anyway, the book is about the old islamic sect and was written in the 1960s, but has a lot of relevance to the suicide bombers/islamic extremists of today

some of the interesting points of the book were how the rumors of the sect spread throughout europe eventhough only one or 2 of their targets were non-muslim & also their contact and eventual defeat at the hands of the mongols

What was the name of the book?

This one, maybe?

thats the one, i had a brain fart at work today and couldnt think of the author

great book

i think that this is an important historical topic, especially nowadays with the US on its 'mission' to stop al queda and all the associated groups

the assassins, like al queda now, almost completely issolated itself from all of the other muslim regimes of the time...and eventually with no allys the group was conquered and very little of their ideology survived

for the muslim communities of the time, the assassins were a group you couldnt trust & even more condeming was that in their time of greatest need none came to defend them...

a fair argument can be made when looking at the US vs Al Queda most ways, the modern story parralells the historical one...if the US persists, they will destroy the infrastructre of al queda and all that will be left is a ideological shell with no ability to act...much like the assassin sect following their destruction at the hands of the Mongols...

the fact remains that the assassins didnt work...their policy was feared more as bed time stories than as an actual political force. though you can never kill off the ideal of these fanatics, it is becoming an interestingly recurring event that as they rise and make a name for themselves the greatest world power of the time steps in to put them down - and the help of the other muslim nations is not being offered to them

From the novel Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson.

Detachment 2702 is also dogged by coffee-can-wearing natives threatening to play guitars made of jerry cans, and by orange vendors and snake charmers, and a few blue-eyed burnoose wearers holding up lumps of unwrapped and unlabelled dark stuff. Like hailstones, these may be classified by analogy to fruits and sporting goods. Typically they range from grape to baseball. At one point, the chaplain impulsively trades a Hershey bar for a golf ball of the stuff.

"What is that? Chocolate?" Bobby Shaftoe asks.

"If it was chocolate," Root says, "that guy wouldn’t have taken a Hershey bar for it."

Shaftoe shrugs. "Unless it’s shitty chocolate."

"Or shit!" blurts Private Nathan, provoking incredible hilarity.

"You heard of Mary Jane?" Root asks.

Shaftoe—role model, leader of men—stifles the impulse to say, Heard of her? I’ve fucked her!

"This is the concentrated essence," says Enoch Root.

"How would you know, Rev?" says Private Daniels.

The Rev is not rattled. "I’m the God guy here, right? I know the religious angle?"

"Yes, sir!"

"Well, at one time, there was a group of Muslims called the hashishin who would eat this stuff and then go out and kill people. They were so good at it, they became famous or infamous. Over time the pronunciation of the name has changed—we know them as assassins."

There is an appropriately respectful silence. Finally, Sergeant Shaftoe says, "What the hell are we waiting for?"

They eat some. Shaftoe, being the highest-ranking enlisted man present, eats more than the others. Nothing happens. "Only person I feel like assassinating is that guy who sold it to us," he says.

"The Ismaili cult of Islam (under the Aga Khan) has very strong ties to the old Assassins."

i know, but i was referring to the actual power that the group holds not as much the specific ideology of the sects