Islam: Faith, Culture, History

Islam: Faith, Culture, History

by Paul Lunde
     
 

Islam: Faith, Culture, History has been conceived as both a means of understanding a religion, lifestyle and worldview, and as an essential reference book. It provides a clear and balanced insight into what has emerged — for the West — as the most perplexing and misunderstood cultural, political, and economic force in the modern world. Paul Lunde's

Overview

Islam: Faith, Culture, History has been conceived as both a means of understanding a religion, lifestyle and worldview, and as an essential reference book. It provides a clear and balanced insight into what has emerged — for the West — as the most perplexing and misunderstood cultural, political, and economic force in the modern world. Paul Lunde's lucid explanation of Islam will appeal to students of comparative religion, those with an interest in political and social history, and the general reader.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With over 300 appealing photographs accompanied by Lunde's text, this glossy paperback is an adequate repository of information for those who know nothing about Islam. One standout feature is the nation-by-nation profiles of 38 majority-Muslim countries, where readers glean staggering statistics we learn, for example, that in Gambia there is only one doctor for every 20,000 people. These profiles alone make the book a valuable primer on the Islamic world. However, as a cross between a coffee-table book and an encyclopedic reference, its overview is too fast-paced and brief. Working knowledge of the realities of Islamic life is lacking; American and European Muslims are hardly discussed; the review of modern Islamic history omits numerous CIA interventions to topple popular Islamic leaders and downplays the long-term effects of colonization. Discussions of the treatment of women and the concept of jihad offer inaccurate or partial information (for example, in the section on jihad, Lunde provides the oversimplified statement that "the duty of the believer is to spread the faith"). The text is at its best when Lunde reveals a few refreshing gems and insights on Islam, noting, for example, that "under Islamic law a woman's possessions were unalienably her own (unlike in the Christian West)." The entire book, rather than a few passages, should have had such candor. As with most DK offerings, however, the editorial content is only half of the equation here, and the gorgeous full-color layout does its usual magic in compensating for textual superficialities. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
DK publications are known for their sturdy bindings, good quality paper, and excellent photographs and graphics—this book is no exception. Its most obvious feature is the many full-color illustrations featuring architecture, art, portraits, maps, and charts—each page of text contains one or two illustrations, including photographs. The result is a stunningly attractive volume. The text is not easy to digest, even with the help of the illustrations. The vocabulary is challenging, the concepts often abstract and difficult. Lunde does his best to be clear, but the history of Islam is complicated and cannot be simplified. Junior high students would benefit from all the illustrations and could manage some of the text, but it is older students who would be able to take full advantage of Lunde's work. Still, this is a timely volume, even referring to September 11th, and it is meant to be an introduction to Islam, so those who know little about that world religion and its history will here find basic information about the religion itself, the Koran, Islamic laws, the history of numerous Islamic states, and Islamic contributions to science and math, art and architecture. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, DK, 192p. illus. index.,
— Claire Rosser

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780789487971
Publisher:
DK Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
12/01/2002
Edition description:
1 AMER ED
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
7.66(w) x 9.98(h) x 0.47(d)

Meet the Author

Paul Lunde is a widely published scholar and author whose career has been dedicated to furthering an international understanding of Islam, its peoples and culture.

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