Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West

Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West


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A sweeping history of the often-violent conflict between Islam and the West, shedding a revealing light on current hostilities

The West and Islam — the sword and scimitar — have clashed since the mid-seventh century, when, according to Muslim tradition, the Roman emperor rejected Prophet Muhammad's order to abandon Christianity and convert to Islam, unleashing a centuries-long jihad on Christendom.

Sword and Scimitar chronicles the decisive battles that arose from this ages-old Islamic jihad, beginning with the first major Islamic attack on Christian land in 636, through the Muslim occupation of nearly three-quarters of Christendom which prompted the Crusades, followed by renewed Muslim conquests by Turks and Tatars, to the European colonization of the Muslim world in the 1800s, when Islam largely went on the retreat — until its reemergence in recent times. Using original sources in Arabic and Greek, preeminent historian Raymond Ibrahim describes each battle in vivid detail and explains how these wars and the larger historical currents of the age reflect the cultural fault lines between Islam and the West.

The majority of these landmark battles — including the battles of Yarmuk, Tours, Manzikert, the sieges at Constantinople and Vienna, and the crusades in Syria and Spain—are now forgotten or considered inconsequential. Yet today, as the West faces a resurgence of this enduring Islamic jihad, Sword and Scimitar provides the needed historical context to understand the current relationship between the West and the Islamic world — and why the Islamic State is merely the latest chapter of an old history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306825552
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 08/28/2018
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 138,472
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Raymond Ibrahim is a scholar of the Middle East and Islam and author of The Al Qaeda Reader and Crucified Again. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Weekly Standard, and the Chronicle of Higher Education; appeared on C-SPAN, Al-Jazeera, CNN, NPR, and PBS; guest lectured at several universities, including the National Intelligence University; briefed governmental agencies such as US Strategic Command; and testified before Congress. Ibrahim has been a fellow at several think tanks, including the Hoover Institution, and has attended the Middle East Forum.

Table of Contents

Foreword Victor Davis Hanson vii

Preface xiii

The Westward Expansion of Islam Map xviii

Introduction Jihad: The Roots of Conflict 1

Chapter 1 Islam Takes Christendom by Storm: The Battle of Yarmuk, 636 13

Chapter 2 The Jihad Reaches an Eastern Wall of Stone: The Siege of Constantinople, 717 44

Chapter 3 The Jihad Reaches a Western Wall of Ice: The Battle of Tours, 732 68

Chapter 4 Islam's New Champions: The Battle of Manzikert, 1071 94

Chapter 5 Christendom Strikes Back: The Battle of Hattin, 1187 124

Chapter 6 The Crusade Victorious: The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, 1212 164

Chapter 7 Muhammad's Dream: The Siege of Constantinople, 1453 204

Chapter 8 The Rise and Fall of Islam: The Siege of Vienna, 1683 249

Postscript Muslim Continuity vs. Western Confusion 295

Notes 298

References 310

Index 321

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