Wright's book is a marvellously vivid recreation of a kind of sustained unreality...One thing it demolishes is the lazy leftist trope that the "root cause" is poverty. The penniless yak herds aren't the problem. The very first words of the very first chapter are "In a first-class stateroom on a cruise ship bound for New York . . ." It's 1948 and inside the first-class stateroom is Sayyid Qutb, the first of a grand parade of privileged middle-class Westernized Muslims for whom a mis-wired encounter with the modern world is enough to make them hot for jihad.