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A new biography of the founder of modern Islamist thought Sayyid Qutb (1906–66) was an influential Egyptian ideologue credited with establishing the theoretical basis for radical Islamism in the post-colonial Sunni Muslim world. lacking a pure understanding of his life and work, the popular media have conflated Qutb’s moral purpose with the aims of Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. He is often portrayed as a terrorist, Islamo-Fascist, and advocate of murder. This book rescues Qutb from misrepresentation, tracing the evolution of his thought within the context of his time, recounting Qutb’s life from the small village in which he was raised to his execution at the behest of Abd al-Nasser’s regime. His study remains sensitive to the cultural, political, social, and economic circumstances that shaped Qutb’s thought—major developments that composed one of the most eventful periods in Egyptian history. Only in response to his harrowing experience in prison did Qutb come to regard Islam and kufr (infidelity) as oppositional, antithetical, and therefore mutually exclusive. Calvert shows how Qutb repackaged and reformulated the Islamic heritage to pose a challenge to authority, including those who claimed (falsely, he believed) to be Muslim.