I have very fond recollections of The Pity of War and even find myself recommending it to people now and again. It seems to me, though, that every time I hear what Niall Ferguson has to say about, well, just about anything these days I start to feel like the book must have been terrible. After all, this is a guy who says, "radical Islamism is good at recruiting within our society, within western society generally. In western Europe, to an extent people underestimate here, the appeal of radical Islamism extends beyond Muslim communities."

Like Dan Drezner, I'm left wondering what empirical support Ferguson thinks he has for this claim. Or, to put it another way, "is good at recruiting" compared to what. Just earlier, he was making an explicit analogy with Marxism. But Communism had a huge following in the West, millions of people (mostly, but not exclusively, in France and Italy) voted for parties adhering to the Moscow-dictated line, and then there was another giant bloc of anti-Stalin Marxists. Indeed, I'm fairly sure that to this day you're going to find substantially more followers of Marx than of bin Laden or Qutb living in the West.

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