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In Ishmael's House

In Ishmael's House [Kindle Edition]

4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description


`Gilbert explores the relationship between Jews and Muslims from the 7th century to the present day. A valuable, balanced contribution.' --The Times, 4th September 2010

`Gilbert's book is an illuminating and a moving account of the history of the Jews in Arab lands.'
--Avi Shlaim, Financial Times, 29th August 2010

`A complex story that offers a template for the future.'
--Ham & High Wood & Vale, 2nd September 2010

`...a triumph of truth over propaganda...a valuable contribution to restoring Jews to the history books of the Middle East.'
--Lyn Julius, Jewish Chronicle, 15th October 2010


"Gilbert has done what he does best, create a model reference work that is sure to remain a standard for years to come."--Seth J./i>--Seth J. Frantzman "Jerusalem Post "

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1612 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (15 Oct. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0047DVZKA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #283,853 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding and important 19 Sept. 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an important and well-written book which should be widely read, not only by those interested in Jewish history but by those interested in the history of Islam. The US Amazon site has (September 19, 2010) two excellent reviews by James Comfort and L. King with which I entirely agree and which I cannot better.
Gilbert is far from the first to write a more balanced account than is implied by the myth that "Christians and Jews were always treated well under Muslim rule". This myth was not true in the earliest period of Islam, is not true today (with local exceptions) and as for the periods in between please consult the book. There were indeed periods and places in which oppression by Muslims was markedly less severe than oppression by Christians, but the opposite has also commonly been true. Discrimination has been the rule and attacks, killings and massacres of non-Muslims have occurred throughout Muslim history. Exceptions have occurred mainly during periods of strong European influence. Themes of irrational hatred of Jews have passed freely between Europe and Arab lands, such as the enforced use of discriminatory clothing copied from the Muslim past into Nazi policy and the widespread promotion of translated European antisemitic literature in Arab lands in the present. The number of Jews who fled Arab lands with good reason after 1947 was greater than the number of Arabs who fled Israel when it became independent.
But Gilbert's account is not a demolition job. He recounts the good as well as the bad. The good includes heroic actions by Arabs to protect Jews when their lives were in danger and principled actions by Muslim rulers when Muslim mobs were conducting a Pogrom.
If you want to read nice fairy tales, there are plenty of sources you can use. If you want to understand real history, read Gilbert's book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very important and timely work 18 Aug. 2014
A fairly comprehensive volume, highly nuanced and an absorbing read.
One of the world's most prolific modern historians , Churchill's official biographer and a foremost authority on Jewish history, the Holocaust and the roots of the Middle East conflict , Martin Gilbert takes us from the period of the millenium before the rise of Mohammed and Islam to the present day.
In Chapter 2, The Prophet Mohammed and the Jews he details Mohammed's emulation in some respects of the Jewish faith when creating Islam to his rage at the Jews for rejecting him as the final prophet and his massacre and expulsion of Jews in the Arabian peninsular , after signing agreements with them which he intended to break under the Muslim practise of Taqiya, strategic deceit permitted and actually mandatory in the Islamic faith.
The tribes of Qurayza and the Jews of Khaibar were destroyed and the Jews expelled from the city of Medina which had been theirs for centuries
Down the centuries different Muslim Empires, kingdoms and regimes treated the Jews in their realms in a variety of ways ranging from toleration and even favour (providing they strictly kept to their dhimmni status) to cruel persecution and massacres.
But it is necessary to stress that at all times the future and conditions of the Jews was dependent on the will of the Muslim leaders. They were always expected to accept their subordination as dhimmi community to their Muslim overlords even when they were prosperous and influential.
After an age of tolerance and prosperity for the Jews in the 1000s CE , the invasion of the Almoravids, a puritan Muslim sect from Morocco, meant great persecution for the Jews of Spain, mass forced conversions and massacres and pogroms if they refused.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Facts and myths - Islam and other faiths 20 Oct. 2010
Martin Gilbert is to be congratulated on this, his latest work.
He has drawn together a vast amount of information from across the Islamic Empire and, with little or no comment, clearly demonstrates the attitude of traditional Islam towards Jews and those of other faiths. In particular, he demonstrates that the hostility of traditional Islam towards Jews, even today, has little to do with the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, but has been ongoing for 1400 years, since Islam was founded.
Few books have been written about the position and experiences of other faiths living under Islamic rule and Sharia Law and most people in the West are ignorant of this matter. Thus, this well-researched book is extremely useful for reference purposes.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Important but difficult 25 Jun. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well worth reading. Not anywhere near as good prose as Gilbert's other works. This reads as though he was asked to produce something quickly. Full of references, it is a convincing case that life for Jews, as inferior people under Moslem rule, was harsh for Centuries. But it is an exhausting read, cataloguing one massacre after another. It is the Arab World that populated Israel, their descendants make up more than half the population and they were all robbed, dispossessed and expelled. The book dispels the myth of alien intruders from Europe. Their grandparents have Arabic as their mother tongue. Pity, if this book was an easier read, it could make a significant impact on the Peace process.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exceptional Work 6 Nov. 2010
By KevinM
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a thoroughly researched and comprehensive account that anyone interested in Israeli/Palestinian relations should read.
It's hard to add much to the other reviews that have been written, but after reading this book, I have the following comments:
1. It's not a book that you can read cover-to-cover in a day or two; you need time to reflect on each chapter, partly to prevent yourself from being desensitised to the accounts.
2. If you have a superficial or popular media-influenced view of Israel, you will find it extremely challenging.
3. The author tries hard to end on a high note, with some optimism towards the future. Whilst this is commendable, I find it hard to share his optimism.

This book is essential to understanding how zionist aspirations developed and were fueled mainly by intolerance.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A valuable perspective
This is a compelling account of the mixed fortunes of the Jewish communities in lands that became engulfed in the complex world of Islam. Read more
Published 9 months ago by M. K. Barritt
4.0 out of 5 stars Ishmael's house the door opened
An excellent book well researched keeps the reader interested all the time.Uses history well and uses the facts in their correct context.
Published 13 months ago by Albert Levi
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 14 months ago by suheila
4.0 out of 5 stars A candid horror
Whilst the author intially sets out in a peaceful and honourable way to pay tribute to the Arab and Muslims lands of the Jewish diaspora, the book in reality quickly become... Read more
Published on 24 Sept. 2011 by Charles Soper
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and partial
I was really looking forward to this. For many years I have tried to understand the dynamics that led to the expulsion or flight of Jews from the Arab world, I had hoped this book... Read more
Published on 3 May 2011 by sartresbeggar
5.0 out of 5 stars Realism and Fact
I have read so many books on the Holocaust so this book seemed like a natural selection and I have been proved right. Read more
Published on 12 Oct. 2010 by Richard Corbata
5.0 out of 5 stars Corredting theMyths
This is a first rate book, beautifully written about a subject never tackled before, and giving perspective on the problems in the Middle East from the distinguished biographer of... Read more
Published on 10 Oct. 2010 by Miranda
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