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Ibn Battuta in Black Africa Paperback – 31 Oct 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Markus Wiener Publishing Inc; Expanded edition edition (31 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558763368
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558763364
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 15.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 724,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
Ibn Battuta, who was born at Tangier in North Africa in 1304 and died not far from there some sixty-five years later, was the greatest of the pre-modern travellers and will go down in history as being notable among the travellers of all time. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Outside the accounts of Arab visitors, very few (if any) first hand accounts exist of pre-colonial Africa. Ibn Battuta's account is one of them. Even though his African travels occupied only a small part of Ibn Battuta's career (spanning over 3 decades of world travelling), they help to lift the curtain on what medieval Africa looked like. Descriptions of every day life in East Africa as well as scenes from the fourteenth century empire of Mali are invaluable- giving an account of African society slightly different from the stereotypes.

This book would also be useful to those interested in expansion of the islamic sphere of influence into Africa. One of the key attractions of Mali for Ibn Battuta was its adoption of islamic culture.

Other books that would make complimentary reading to this one are Medieval West Africa (N. Levtzion and J. Spaulding) and A History of Islam in West Africa (J. Trimingham).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Well-Edited Collection of Battuta's Sub-Saharan Travels 9 Aug 2000
By Ein Kunde - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Ibn Battuta (born in Tangier, Morocco, 1304 AD) probably traveled more miles overland than any person in history before the invention of motor vehicles. Beginning with a trip to Mecca for the Islamic pilgrimage, he spent nearly three decades traveling and working in almost every Islamic country in the Eastern Hemisphere (He also traveled in many non-Islamic countries). His "Rihlah" ("Travels") is the monumental achievement in travel writing, made all the more amazing by the fact that he accomplished his travels almost 700 years ago. Most of his writing covers his travels outside of Africa (Arabia, Persia, India, and China). However, his written accounts of his visits to the nascent Swahili city-states on Africa's East Coast and the West African kingdom of Mali are the only primary historical sources for these civilizations in medieval times. Battuta is truly a window to the past, giving modern readers a look at the social, cultural, and political history of medieval African Islamic civilization.
"Ibn Battuta in Black Africa" is a well-edited collection of Battuta's travels in Sub-Saharan Africa. The book is not a lengthy one (it can be easily read in an evening), but it is full of useful information in the introduction and notes on Battuta's text. This is a very good introduction to Ibn Battuta for the student of African history.
Also see "The Travels of Ibn Battuta" (three volumes) by Sir Hamilton Gibb: an unabridged translation with excellent notes.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Interesting Account in Battuta's own words 27 Nov 2003
By Matthew Bailey - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is worth going through in detail. It isn't a large book so that is easily possible. One gets to journey through sub-Sahara Africa with Battuta in Battuta's own words. Plus the book gives you counsel from experts in helping to understand Battuta's record.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"This book provides much food for thought, combined with the simple pleasure of a good travel tale well told."-Boston Globe 25 May 2006
By history buff - Published on
Format: Paperback
"Ibn Battuta's narrative allows us to look at that country through eyes unlike our own. For once, sub-Saharan Africa is viewed without the intrusion of colonialism and racism, as just another corner of a large and fascinating world. . . . This book provides much food for thought, combined with the simple pleasure of a good travel tale well told."

-The Boston Globe

" . . . lively translation . . . outstanding introduction . . . appealing illustrations . . . useful maps. . . ."

-World History Bulletin
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Required Reading For School 13 May 2013
By Kimberly Schrimpf - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a reading requirement for a college course for my son. We got a great deal on the book and it was in great condition. Book was interesting reading.
A rare find 7 April 2014
By Twinkle - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In researching African history to teach to my children, I was elated to learn about Ibn Battuta and his journey taken around the world. I had never heard of him and was amazed that he was a contemporary with Marco Polo. Delighted to find much of his travel journals online, I proceeded to add him to my homeschool curriculum. However, after further research, I was dismayed to find that only the parts of his journey which dealt with East Africa and Asia were available. West Africa was completely missing. So imagine my delight and surprise to find this book! I am thrilled with the work that is done here and made available to readers. Anyone interested in travels taken in the 1300s, reading about the people and places of that time, or just having a companion book to Marco Polo's travels will find this book helpful and interesting.
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