The career of Bernard Lewis was punctuated by three wars: World War II, the Cold War, and what he himself called “the crisis of Islam.” The article seeks to demonstrate that for Lewis, these wars formed a continuum, the common thread being the struggle to defend freedom and democracy against the forces of tyranny.
Bernard Lewis, historian of the Middle East, was widely misunderstood. But no other person in our time has done as much to inform and influence the West's view of the Islamic world and the Middle East.
On the 100th birthday of Bernard Lewis, his student and friend Martin Kramer recalls Lewis's prescience in his 1976 article "The Return of Islam," and situates it in the great historian's vision of the relationship between Islam and the West. The follow-up, "The Master Historian of the Middle East," responds to respondents, and adds further insights.