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Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes

Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes

3.9 14
by Tamim Ansary

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We in the west share a common narrative of world history. But our story largely omits a whole civilization whose citizens shared an entirely different narrative for a thousand years.

In Destiny Disrupted, Tamim Ansary tells the rich story of world history as the Islamic world saw it, from the time of Mohammed to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and beyond.


We in the west share a common narrative of world history. But our story largely omits a whole civilization whose citizens shared an entirely different narrative for a thousand years.

In Destiny Disrupted, Tamim Ansary tells the rich story of world history as the Islamic world saw it, from the time of Mohammed to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and beyond. He clarifies why our civilizations grew up oblivious to each other, what happened when they intersected, and how the Islamic world was affected by its slow recognition that Europe—a place it long perceived as primitive and disorganized—had somehow hijacked destiny.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Baptist Standard
“Reading [Tom] Friedman, I was motivated to learn more about the Muslim view of world history. I found a remarkable guide in Tamim Ansary’s Destiny Disrupted.”
General Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Ret)
"Tamim Ansary has written a truely superb history of the Islamic world.  His excellent analysis provides the reader with an insightful understanding of how that world and its people were shaped by events.  This is a must read for all those who want to understand the evolution of a significant global society and how it has interacted with the rest of the world.'

Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns
“Ansary has written an informative and thoroughly engaging look at the past, present and future of Islam. With his seamless and charming prose, he challenges conventional wisdom and appeals for a fuller understanding of how Islam and the world at large have shaped each other. And that makes this book, in this uneasy, contentious post 9/11 world, a must-read.”

Dave Eggers, TheRumpus.net
“I’m in the middle of Tamim Ansary’s Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes, and it’s incredibly illuminating. Ansary pretty much covers the entire history of Islam in an incredibly readable and lucid way. I’ve been recommending this book to everyone I know. Especially when people are looking for a comprehensive-but-approachable way to look at world history through the lens of Islam, there’s no better book.”

San Francisco Chronicle
"A must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of the Islamic world. But the book is more than just a litany of past events. It is also an indispensable guide to understanding the political debates and conflicts of today, from 9/11 to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, from the Somali pirates to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. As Ansary writes in his conclusion, "The conflict wracking the modern world is not, I think, best understood as a 'clash of civilizations.' ... It's better understood as the friction generated by two mismatched world histories intersecting." 

Portland Oregonian

“Never apologist in tone, meticulously researched and balanced, often amusing but never glib, Destiny Disrupted is ultimately a gripping drama that pulls the reader into great, seminal events of world history, a book which offers a wealth of knowledge and insight to any reader who wants to understand the movements and events behind the modern-day hostilities wracking Western and Islamic societies.” 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“If you want to put today's headlines about jihadist suicide bombings into the much larger context of history, you'd be well advised to settle in with Destiny Disrupted. It's the story of a civilization that suddenly found itself upended by strangers and now wants to put itself right. And if author Ansary stops short of calling the result a clash of civilizations, he feels free to call it two one-sided views of world history. His book is a valuable tool for opening up a view of the other side.” 

Shelf Awareness
“A lively, thorough and accessible survey of the history of Islam (both the religion and its political dimension) that explores many of the disconnects between Islam and the West.”
DAWN.com (Pakistan), August 15, 2010

Library Journal
★ 05/01/2014
Questioning the idea that postindustrial democracy is the endpoint of social evolution, Ansary offers an alternative history that is "neither a textbook nor a thesis" but "more like what I'd tell you if we met in a coffeehouse."

Product Details

Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Unabridged, 1 MP3, 13 hours
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Tamim Ansary is the author of the memoir West of Kabul, East of New York, co-author with Farah Ahmadi of the New York Times bestseller The Other Side of the Sky, and has been a major contributing writer to several secondary school history textbooks. Ansary is director of the San Francisco Writers Workshop.

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Destiny Disrupted 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Edward Trumper More than 1 year ago
The history explained is thorough yet written in such an engaging way that you never get bogged down or have to press through dry spots until the book gets interesting again. I highly recommend it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book or series of CD's is a must for Americans who want to understand the present world situation. The writing is excellent, at times clever, and even amusing in spots. The author himself reads the book on the CD series clearly pronouncing the names with an ease born out his own familiarity with the cultures of Islam, his birth culture, as well as American culture, including American folk culture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heraklios More than 1 year ago
This is the author's own propaganda. Mainstream Islam would not go for this because they want the world to fear Islam in its ruthlessness which is apparent all around us and surrender their freedom. The author wants us to believe that Muhammad only created Islam to help out orphans and widows.(P.18) In fact Islam was Muhammad's revenge on the people that had mistreated him during his lifetime. The Muslims went out and imperialistically conquered all the lands they exist in today. When Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and Jews managed to retake some of these lands, as was their right, the Muslims cried foul. They created an Inquisition to control these conquered lands and exploit the resources and native peoples(slaves)to make themselves rich. France, Spain, Africa, India, Russia, etc. all have first hand experience of this evil called Islam. The author wants to lull the world into believing that Muslims are just misunderstood in spite of all the murders committed in allah's name around the world. There are facts here but also lies, distortions of the truth, and deliberate omissions. Example: 1967 Muslim-Israeli war; The Egyptians had chased out the UN observers, closed the Strait of Tiran(A recognized Act of War), and massed about 100,000 troops on the border with assistance from Syria but were planning to "really do nothing!!".(P.329). All Israel had to do was wait. Nothing was going to happen, really!!. Israel counterattacked as was her right of self-defense. The list goes on. So, I give this book 1 star and do not recommend it. I would recommend books by these authors for the real Muslim world view; Serge Trifkovic, Ibn Warraq, Sita Ram Goel, Oriana Fallaci, V.S. Naipaul, Bat Ye'or, Ronald Segal, and Paul Fregosi.
blaher More than 1 year ago
Every time I put this book down, I wanted to read it even more. History is told truthfully and fairly. I recommend it to anyone who likes to hear the Islamic history never taught in schools.
SylvieJ More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved "Destiny Disrupted" - what a fascintating and utterly entertaining read! I could not put it down and have been recommending it to everyone I know.
nickz More than 1 year ago
I found this book very fair minded and easy to read. It gives the casual observer of Islamic cultural a better understanding of it's origins and how Muslims view world history. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in history or foreign relations.
F.Brauer More than 1 year ago
It is quite an achievement to condense the History Of The World Through Muslim Eyes into a book of 362 pages. Tamim Ansary does it, presenting the Muslim narrative in elegant and clever prose. The book is rich in facts, names and lucid explanations. It evokes, however, a sense of unease once the meaning of Islamic Destiny is understood and digested. Layer after layer the history of Muslim lands is unveiled as an endless cycle of violence starting with the destruction and plunder of the Byzantine and Persian worlds and their mutation into the Islamic Caliphate. Short lived prosperity under the Umayyads and, later, of the Abbasids flourished into Islamic civilization fertilized by the wisdom and talents of conquered people. Peace, marred by continuous infighting of the Fatimids, Almohads and Buyids, was followed by Mongolian catastrophe and invasions of Tamerlane and the Seljuks. Then came new rebirth under the Mughals and Ottomans, who fleeced their conquered flock, only to briefly flourish and then wilt again, and so on and on. Islam is not just another religion. It is a social project based on a supremacist and militant ideology. In the need to prove itself a true revelation of God, Islam must maintain itself in a state of perpetual struggle for the hearts and minds of believers. The name of the struggle is Jihad. It starts with words of guidance and inspiration. If words fail, the sword is pulled from the scabbard - the Sword of Islam (as on the banner of Saudi Arabia). The goal of Jihad is to fulfill the destiny of Islam in bringing humankind to the state of Aslama - submission to God the Muslim way. The book is not without weak points. In his presentation of Muslim modernity Tamim Ansary follows uncritically the shibboleths of the Arab propaganda. For instance, he blames Israel for starting the Six Day War of 1967. In reality, the Arabs, yearning to regain self respect after the debacle of 1948, planned the war to eliminate a non-Muslim country from of what they claim as the Islamic realm. Preempting the imminent attack, Israel attacked and defeated the Arabs. The Egyptian debacle in the Yom Kippur war of 1973 further exacerbated the Arab anguish and led to deeper disappointment with the path of westernization in the Arab world. Military defeats, together with other grievances both just and unjust, catalyzed the radicalization of Muslim society leading to the emergence of al Qaeda and other Jihadi organizations. The cycle of war resumed, and there is no end in sight. The chances that Islam will forge swords into ploughshares and turn to peaceful coexistence with the rest of humankind are, at present, nonexistent. What might sway Islam to desist from Jihad, nobody knows. But thanks to books like Destiny Disrupted the reader is alerted to an urgent problem.