- Hardcover: 144 pages
- Publisher: Random House Inc; Modern Library Ed edition (1 Aug. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679640401
- ISBN-13: 978-0679640400
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2 x 19.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 78,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Islam: A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles) Hardcover – 1 Aug 2000
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The picture of Islam as a violent, backward, and insular tradition should be laid to rest, says Karen Armstrong, bestselling author of Muhammad and A History of God. Delving deep into Islamic history, Armstrong sketches the arc of a story that begins with the stirring of revelation in an Arab businessman named Muhammad. His concern with the poor who were being left behind in the blush of his society's new prosperity sets the tone for the tale of a culture that values community as a manifestation of God. Muhammad's ideas catch fire, quickly blossoming into a political empire. As the empire expands and the once fractured Arabs subdue and overtake the vast Persian domain, the story of a community becomes a panoramic drama. With great dexterity, Armstrong narrates the Sunni-Shi'ite schism, the rise of Persian influence, the clashes with Western crusaders and Mongolian conquerors, and the spiritual explorations that traced the route to God. Armstrong brings us through the debacle of European colonialism right up to the present day, putting Islamic fundamentalism into context as part of a worldwide phenomenon. Islam: A Short History, like Bruce Lawrence's Shattering the Myth and Mark Huband's Warriors of the Prophet, introduces us to a faith that beckons like a minaret to those who dare to venture beyond the headlines. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
One of the world's foremost commentators on religious affairs on the history (and destiny) of the world's most misunderstood religion. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Several useful appendices add significantly to the value of this book. These include a very detailed chronology recording every major date, event and development, an alphabetical list of key figures, a glossary of Arabic terms and a detailed list of suggested further reading material
The book is worth reading for the value of the final section alone entitled "Islam Agonistes" where Armstrong moves out of her abstract "narrator" mode and provides a profound analysis of the contemporary Muslim situation vis-à-vis the West, modern technological society and the challenges of secular modernity for Muslims. Her conclusion is that many Muslim societies have commitments and attachments to their faith which they are unwilling to jettison wholesale similar to Christians in the West. They would like to participate in the modern world but on their own terms, whilst remaining faithful to the central tenets of their own religious understanding.
I gave the book 4 stars as opposed to 5 because - as a practising Muslim who has experienced being a member of the faith for many years - I was unable to relate fully with Armstrong's central thesis - namely that the supreme Islamic mission is the establishment of a just society.Read more ›
The book is written in a very approachable manner and would be understandable to even the beginners. But having said that, there are so many details covered in this one book (even if as brief references) that I couldn't help but admire the effort put into her work. I started off not expecting too much (thinking I know it all any way), but ended up finding so much new stuff and refreshing what I knew before to be true. And the best thing was that it gives us a different prospective of things. It makes us think about things we usually take as a given (either for religious or social reasons), hence closing our minds to them. Also makes us think logically about historical facts we believe to be true but usually tend to look at them just from a religious view point and hence not being able to appreciate them to the full.
So all in all, I very much recommend this book to any one who would like to study the fastest growing religion in the world. It takes away a lot of stereo types about Islam (and made me want to further study a lot of personalities and events mentioned in this book.) and brings things into prospective.
I therefore picked up armstrong's book with some reservation, but only to overcome it in the first few pages. The author's approach is disciplined in the acamedic sense and yet takes ample care in use of language so as not to offend (this is especially evident in the description of revelations to the Prophet). The general Arab context within which the religon and it's beginnings are described is amazingly well written.
I would rate this book highly and recommend it to people of all faiths. It is an excellent resource for a short overview of the history of Islam and tackles the spiritual aspect incredibly well, with the result that it is neither a sermon, nor a rejection - it is a well balanced view and description of history.
Despite these problems this a deeply well written and informative book. I took this book out of the library and Iam considering buying a copy, Its just that good.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is interesting and revealing as all Karen Armstrong’s books are, but also disturbing. Her rather uncritical admiration of Islam is expressed when she says; “Look what had... Read morePublished 3 months ago by D Walls
If you want to know and learn about Islamic history in an unbiased way then this is the book for you. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
IDEAL FOR STUDENTS BUT A LITTLE TOO DETAILED OR DENSE FOR LEISURELY READING ALTHOUGH THIS MAY BE NECESSARY TO COVER SUBJECT.Published 8 months ago by Edith