Today's Arab world was created at breathtaking speed. In just over one hundred years following the death of Mohammed in 632, Arabs had subjugated a territory with an east-west expanse greater than the Roman Empire, and they did it in about one-half the time. By the mid-eighth century, Arab armies had conquered the thousand-year-old Persian Empire, reduced the Byzantine Empire to little more than a city-state based around Constantinople, and destroyed the Visigoth kingdom of Spain. The cultural and linguistic effects of this early Islamic expansion reverberate today. This is the first popular English-language account in many years of this astonishing remaking of the political and religious map of the world. Hugh Kennedy's sweeping narrative reveals how the Arab armies conquered almost everything in their path, and brings to light the unique characteristics of Islamic rule. One of the few academic historians with a genuine talent for story telling, Kennedy offers a compelling mix of larger-than-life characters, fierce battles, and the great clash of civilizations and religions.
|Publisher:||Da Capo Press|
|Sold by:||Hachette Digital, Inc.|
|File size:||5 MB|
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a rather well written introductory book. It is more or less verbatim translation of Arab conquest histories into English. No effort has been made to critically appraise the original sources. If you know absolutely nothing about that period in history, it will provide you with a very one sided narrative. The author also suffers from a very common shortcoming of Arabists: while the bulk of the book is about Arab conquests in Iran, Spain, and North Africa, the author knows next to nothing about the histories of these regions. To put it kindly, his information about cultural, political, economic, and military history of Sassanid Persia (Iran, Iraq and parts of Caucasus and Central Asia and one of the two major empires of the late antiquity) is non existent, and it gets worse when he talks about Berber tribes in modern Algeria and Morocco, their relationship with Muslims and Byzantines, and their history and culture. He just repeats the Arabic texts without paying any attention to the research done in these areas within the last 50 years! Also, since professor Patricia Crone's influential work in late 1970s, there are a lot of doubts about the veracity of Islamic historiography. Many texts, including Koran itself, have been critically reread over the last 30 years. The author just glosses over all these works. In the end, it is an OK book, but not great.