In the book he discusses both the emergence of Islamism and the West's response. It distinguishes between 'the great historical faith' of Islam which he claims has 'brought spiritual nourishment to millions', and Islamism, a 'totalitarian ideolog[y]' which turns to 'hellish violence and oppression' in a similar way to the 20th century ideologies of National Socialism and Communism.
He discusses the factors that led to the development of large-scale Muslim terrorism and how the West has failed to stand up for its liberal values in the face of this pressure, including his analysis of the alliance between Muslim fundamentalists and the Western left.
This book has been studied by leading members of the British Government, who have adopted a number of his suggestions. It was positively received by journals like The Times Literary Supplement and Literary Review from terrorism experts Walter Laqueur and Michael Burleigh. While Steven Poole in the Guardian called it "remarkably trite" and asked "what universe is Gove living in?" Damian Thompson in The Daily Telegraph wrote that Gove's analysis is rooted in an "essentially Manichean" world view, which over simplifies the complexities of Islamist terrorism. Although, according to Thompson, Celsius 7/7 provides a useful analysis of Western 'appeasers' of militant Islam, by and large comparing the war on terror to a war against a totalitarian ideology is "misleading, and even dangerous."
Since publishing, Gove has been accused of harbouring a hostile attitude towards Islam and Muslims. The author William Dalrymple has attacked the book as a "confused epic of simplistic incomprehension" and pointed out that contrary to claims on the book's jacket that Gove was an authority on Islamist terror, he had in fact never lived or travelled in any Islamic country, knew little about Islamic history or theology, and showed no sign of having met or talked to any Muslims.
- Michael Gove, Celsius 7/7 2006 pvii
- "Ministers take leaf out of Tory's book", Andrew Pierce, Daily Telegraph, 18 December 2006
- Poole, Steven (12 September 2006). "Books,Culture,Politics (Books genre)". The Guardian (London).
- Thompson, Damian Democracy is the solution 13 August 2006, telegraph.co.uk/
- Melanie Phillips’s Diary » The war within the west (3)[dead link]
- Stephen Pollard • Dalrymple wrong as usual[dead link]
- Booth, Jenny. "When the whole truth can be so difficult to deny | Michael Gove". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2012-05-29.