Fundamentalism Reborn? is a collection of writings by various authors, with a few words from Maley at the beginning and end of the book. The collection touches upon the rise of the Taliban and the future of the Afghani state. Individual topics vary, providing a wide scope of issues surrounding the Taliban and its role in Afghanistan. Foreign and domestic recognition of the Taliban, the need for financial support, and the Cold war are among these issues. Extremely important is the extreme need of financial aid in the face of a Western cold shoulder and hearty support from Islamic fundamentalists and terrorist organizations. The lack of US/Soviet aid after the Cold war was a central factor in the rise of the Taliban and its terrorist foundations, and is also one that is often overlooked.
Another subject brought up in the book is the role of the UN, and the need for it to provide not just mediation in the conflict, but rather reconstruction aid to Afghanistan. While my readings on Afghanistan are by no means extensive, thus far I have not seen much information on the crucial responsibility of the UN both in writing and in the media. As the world becomes more and more globalized, the need for international order and a single regulatory, unbiased body increases. Hence, as the world that is so dependent upon one another becomes more divided along Western-Islamic lines, the UN is the only source of peace and reconciliation between the opposing powers. So, it is a definite quality of attraction that Maley does include writings and touch upon the responsibilities of the UN in this matter.
Aside from being a deeply informative and organized account of the Taliban, the best aspect of this book is the variety of viewpoints provided to the reader. Although Maley does indeed offer his own personal opinions in the introduction and in his prophecy for Afghanistan, it does not subjugate the many other perspectives contained in the book. Unlike novels written by a single author, the reader is not plagued by bias, selectivity of information, or a single cultural standpoint. Rather than having a conclusion forced upon the reader, the reader is able to take in a wide array of information and attitudes, and then consolidate the information into his personal stance upon the very controversial subject. Maley did an excellent job in selecting authors from different backgrounds, stations, and outlooks, and moreover the continuous change of writing style allows for sustained interest in the book. To date, this has been my favorite piece of writing on Afghanistan and I would highly recommend it.