There is a lot of heated rhetoric about fundamentalism. We know we're against it, and we may even have been 'burned' by it in the past... but do we understand it?
Then there's the sick irony of Christian fundamentalists engaging in a frenzy of verbal lapidation when it comes to Islam.
If you want to move beyond the usual game of "ain't it awful" and understand some of the issues involved in the various forms of fundamentalism, you could do worse than track down a copy of the eminently readable Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction by Malise Ruthven, just one of many titles in Oxford's simply brilliant 'Short Introduction' series.
If you just want a spleen-venting 'feel good' tirade, Ruthven isn't your man. In this slim volume he pushes us well up the learning curve. At the end you might not feel any more kindly toward the phenomena - I know I didn't - but you will have a deeper grasp of what motivates otherwise rational people to embrace these dire views.
You might think recommending a book on fundamentalism to a group of largely ex-fundamentalist readers is a bit like teaching your Granny to suck eggs; after all, many of us have seen the beast from the inside. But sometimes folk can be too close to something like this, or too emotionally involved, to see what would otherwise be blindingly obvious.
Ruthven covers Protestant fundamentalism well, but takes a broader brush, including related tendencies in other religions. I picked up a lot of incidental information, for example, on Islam.
And, wouldn't you know it, Fundamentalism is available free on ISSUU. If you've got an iPad or tablet, the app is well worth downloading.