Landfalls: On the Edge of Islam with Ibn Battutah and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Landfalls: On the Edge of... has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Expedited shipping available on this book. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine.
Trade in your item
Get a £0.50
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Landfalls: On the Edge of Islam from Zanzibar to the Alhambra Paperback – 26 May 2011


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£9.99
£4.28 £2.59
£9.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • When you trade in £15 or more you’ll receive an additional £5 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card for the next time you spend £10 or more.

Frequently Bought Together

Landfalls: On the Edge of Islam from Zanzibar to the Alhambra + Hall of a Thousand Columns: Hindustan to Malabar with Ibn Battutah + Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah
Price For All Three: £30.97

Buy the selected items together


Trade In this Item for up to £0.50
Trade in Landfalls: On the Edge of Islam from Zanzibar to the Alhambra for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £0.50, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; Reprint edition (26 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719567785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719567780
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 374,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

'Landfalls is a beautifully written account of Islamic life and culture in the 21st century. Whether he is looking for proof of demons off the coast of an island in the Maldives or indulging in a delirious dance to the sound of an ancient Guinean musical instrument, his book is a joyous celebration of cultural diversity' (Sunday Times)

'Well paced, erudite, amusing . . . almost always fascinating . . . Landfalls proves that reports of the death of the travel book are premature. Far from it. With its mix of literary adventure, biography and autobiography, this book suggests that, in the right hands, the genre can be as flexible, energetic and rewarding as ever' (Literary Review)

'Captivating' (Scotsman)

'In this exquisitiely written volume, Mackintosh-Smith establishes himself as a pre-eminent travel writer of his generation, comparable to an earlier D. H. Lawrence of Eric Newby' (Toronto Globe and Mail)

'The long-awaited and dazzling conclusion to the Tim Mackintosh-Smith trilogy' (Country Life)

'Mackintosh-Smith's third and final volume in the series . . . is as delightful as the first two. What draws readers in is his enthusiasm and wonder . . . Another fantastic voyage of two distinctive travel writers. Recommended for those interested in travel, history and Middle East study areas' (Library Journal)

'An entertaining and learned travelling companion. And, if he persuades more people to read Ibn Battutah, so much the better' (TLS)

'Mackintosh-Smith's zesty travelogue is packed with eccentric characters and anecdote' (FT)

'Landfalls marks the dazzling conclusion to a trilogy' (Middle East)

Book Description

Tim Mackintosh-Smith concludes his travels in the footsteps of Moroccan traveller Ibn Battutah across the 'worlds beyond the winds'


Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
3
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. P. Mankin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I rarely read travel books but having read several reviews of this one I decided to take the plunge. And what a rewarding journey it has been (I now have the second in the trilogy and thus am reading the books backwards not that it really matters!). Tim Mackintosh-Smith has the canny knack of blending two genres: history and travelogue. He does this in a marevellously entertaining yet erudite manner, and, perhaps importantly, with considerable humour. This account of the journeys of the 14th century Ibn Batuttah of Tangier makes for a magical read. I loved it!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Taylor McNeil on 24 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Landfalls is the third in Tim Mackintosh-Smith's trilogy of books following in the footsteps of Ibn Battutah, the well-traveled 14th-century man about the Islamic world--and perhaps his best book yet. By now, Mackintosh-Smith is a seasoned traveler and deeply read Ibn Battutah connoisseur, and a sharp, observant and delightful writer. After trailing IB, as he calls Ibn Battutah, across North Africa, the Middle East and India in Travels with a Tangerine and The Hall of a Thousand Columns, he ventures with IB here to the edges of the classical Islamic world: east Africa, the Indian Ocean, China and West Africa.

Mackintosh-Smith roams from Tanzania, which is as far down the east coast of Africa as Islam spread by the 1300s (and today, for that matter), to the Maldives, those idyllic looking islands in the Indian Ocean that had just fallen under the sway of Islam as IB landed by ship. Then it's off to Sri Lanka, where a beleaguered Muslim minority still lingers through the depredations of that country's longstanding civil strife between Tamils and Sinhalese, and as far east as China, where Muslims now (as then) barely have a toe-hold. In the end, he returns like IB to West Africa, where IB spent his last journeying days, and to Spain, as the reconquista was pushing the last remnants of the golden age of Islam out of the Iberian peninsula and back to the shores of Africa.

All along, Mackintosh-Smith seeks tangible remnants of IB or of IB's time and acquaintances, and surprisingly often finds them, or at least close enough to the real thing. There are mosques that IB must have attended, roads that he might have traveled. Then there's the time he manages to attend a Manding religious ceremony in Guinea--a Naipaulesque nightmare of a country.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dallas Noble on 3 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yet another fascinating book from Tim Mackintosh Smith. His books following the steps of Ibn Batutta are amongst the most fascinating travel/historical books I have ever read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Travels on the Edge of Islam 24 Mar. 2011
By Taylor McNeil - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"Landfalls" is the third in Tim Mackintosh-Smith's trilogy of books following in the footsteps of Ibn Battutah, the well-traveled 14th-century man about the Islamic world--and perhaps his best book yet. By now, Mackintosh-Smith is a seasoned traveler and deeply read Ibn Battutah connoisseur, and a sharp, observant and delightful writer. After trailing IB, as he calls Ibn Battutah, across North Africa, the Middle East and India in "Travels with a Tangerine" and "The Hall of a Thousand Columns," he ventures with IB here to the edges of the classical Islamic world: east Africa, the Indian Ocean, China and West Africa.

Mackintosh-Smith roams from Tanzania, which is as far down the east coast of Africa as Islam spread by the 1300s (and today, for that matter), to the Maldives, those idyllic looking islands in the Indian Ocean that had just fallen under the sway of Islam as IB landed by ship. Then it's off to Sri Lanka, where a beleaguered Muslim minority still lingers through the depredations of that country's longstanding civil strife between Tamils and Sinhalese, and as far east as China, where Muslims now (as then) barely have a toe-hold. In the end, he returns like IB to West Africa, where IB spent his last journeying days, and to Spain, as the reconquista was pushing the last remnants of the golden age of Islam out of the Iberian peninsula and back to the shores of Africa.

All along, Mackintosh-Smith seeks tangible remnants of IB or of IB's time and acquaintances, and surprisingly often finds them, or at least close enough to the real thing. There are mosques that IB must have attended, roads that he might have traveled. Then there's the time he manages to attend a Manding religious ceremony in Guinea--a Naipaulesque nightmare of a country. He's suddenly sitting with IB, who wrote about the same ceremony some 650 years before, in pretty much the exact same place. It's a startling convergence of time and space, and one that Mackintosh-Smith conveys in sparkling prose that brings it indelibly alive.

Along the way, Mackintosh-Smith regales us with stories of IB, whose famous book of travels he knows inside out not only from speaking Arabic but from having all but memorized extended passages. IB was infamous for collecting royals: if he were alive today, Mackintosh-Smith jests, he'd work a tabloid on the royalty beat. As an exotic Westerner in whatever place he lands, he is soon fawning over local potentates, and carefully planning how he will touch the various sultans for a bit of gold while he's at it--and spreading his genes via multiple marriages and liaisons to boot. IB, as Mackintosh-Smith portrays him, is utterly wily--after all, how otherwise could he have survived some 30 years of traveling the known world in the mid-1300s and come back to tell the tale?

Mostly Mackintosh-Smith is traveling alone, but occasionally his traveling companion, the artist Martin Yeoman tags along, providing the deft line drawings that are sprinkled through the book. Mackintosh-Smith likes the company, and he gleefully reports the puns they trade. Still, the storytelling in "Landfalls" is best when Mackintosh-Smith is alone; it makes him a more careful observer, forced to mix with the locals.

Normally I trot quickly through a good travel book, but with "Landfalls" I took my time, savoring each page. Mackintosh-Smith's writing is a joy to read; he's a writer who's in love with words. (More than a few I'd never run across before, but like reading Patrick Leigh-Fermor, I consider it a free lesson to have to thumb through my dictionary now and again.)

"Landfalls" stands alone perfectly well: you don't need to have read the first two books to appreciate or understand anything in this one. Mackintosh-Smith has thought long and hard about IB and the ways that IB's world is still with us today. This is the most erudite, masterful, amusing, and enlightening book I've read in years, and deserves a wide audience, especially in this age of very one-dimensional portrayals of Islam.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A modern travel book with a very tenuous historical connection 13 Aug. 2011
By Philip S. Griffey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is less than 5% about Ibn Battutah (whom the author calls "IB") and more than 95% about the travels of the author (TM-S). If you happen to find TM-S's style and content interesting, consider it a five star book. If you are interested in Ibn Battutah, it's a one star book. I have chosen two small selections (more or less at random) to give you an example of each.

From page 167: "At lunchtime, Martin and I were the only non-Chinese in a vast eating hall near the waterfront at Aberdeen. It was the size of a couple of decent ballrooms and was packed with families and middle-aged couples. Our food came - for me tripe dumplings with a pleasant tang of digestive juices, rubbery-crunchy deboned chicken feet, and a salad of cucumber and what the English menu called `floating bladder' and which, I believe, was jellyfish. `Aren't you having the puppy-dogs' tails?' Martin said, trying to concentrate on his beef with green pepper.
Constrained neither by squeamishness nor by Islamic dietary restrictions, during our travels in southern China I ate, and generally enjoyed, a selection of dishes the mere idea of which would have had IB reaching for the sick-bag." Etc. etc.

From page 283/4: "I looked into the dark pools of Lieutenant Diawara's aviator sunglasses, desperately fishing for signs of a smile. There were none. Even in the humid fluvial air of Siguiri, my lips felt like oven-dried sandpaper. I heard Lamine swallow hard beside me.
I could just make out the eyes, roving from side to side in their lean sockets, scrutinizing, but never meeting mine. `On peut te mettre' Lieutenant Diawara said, `en prison'...
Whether such a thing as an iced enema exists, I don't know. But at that moment I felt I'd just been administered one. 'En prison': it sounded so much more horrible in French. That `On' was superb as well - the pronoun of faceless power, the rhetorical equivalent of aviator sunglasses. Please God, I thought, not a Guinean prison."

I would have given it three stars; but any author who assumes that every reader knows another language not only well enough to understand its meaning, but also its grammatical nuances, such as the difference between the active vs. the passive voice, deserves a least one star off. By the way, "On peut te mettre en prison." means "You could be put in prison."

To summarize: The content is largely vacuous, the prose tends toward overwritten at best and purplish at worst, and any historical connections are obscured by the mass of the author's trivial observations and impressions. For Tim Mackintosh-Smith fans only
Fantastic Reading...Humor is the Best Aspect, Then Historic Background and Cultural Immersion 1 Dec. 2012
By Jan Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who lives half the year in Morocco, I loved this book. My Moroccan house is right off Avenue Ibn Battouta. I cross the strait of Gibraltar on the Ibn Battouta ferry. I've finally found out, in depth, just who Ibn Battouta was. I especially loved the reference to him as a "spermatic traveler", having acquired eight wives and numerous slave girls and concubines in his twenty years of wanderings. Although my Arabic is nowhere near a good as Tim Mackintosh-Smith's, I enjoyed the surreal, culturally polar-opposite, conversations, in which one finds oneself in Arabic. Googling the various mosques, palaces, and locations where Tim traveled, gave me pictures as well as well as the author's vibrant descriptions. His irreverent British sense of humor makes this book superb. Maybe not for everyone, but if you have had experience in an Arabic country, you'll feel a connection. I've read the entire trilogy and was sad when the trip ended.
Ibn Battutah 4 April 2013
By Susan Henderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you enjoy both history and travel, then you will love this book. I recommend you read Travels with a Tangerine by the same author first.
the end of a long and fascinating journey? 6 Jan. 2013
By Acorn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ibn Battutah was born in Tangier in 1304. As a young man he went on a pilgrimage to Mecca and ended up travelling for the next twenty-nine years, across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, over the lands of the Indian Ocean to China. It was an extraordinary journey and we mainly know of it because he recorded his voyages in a long manuscript, copies of which still survive. Perhaps `extraordinary' is not the right word. We often assume pre-modern people lived in settled communities with little in the way of international links, and that even hunter gatherers foraged over familiar terrains. But in fact humans travelled enormous distances to colonise the globe and wanderlust seems ingrained in our nature. David Lewis in The Voyaging Stars (1978) described how over 2,000 years ago sailors crossed the Pacific Ocean and settled remote islands, then maintained trade and cultural links over vast distances using their intimate knowledge of the sea and stars. Ibn Battutah was following in the footsteps of many a Muslim trader, so in some ways his wanderings were not uncommon at all. It was his purpose - to wonder at the full extent of the Muslim world rather than to trade - which was extraordinary for the time.

Tim Mackintosh-Smith has devoted a good deal of his life to the study of Ibn Battutah and his writings. In Travels with a Tangerine (2002) he followed him over North Africa, the Middle East and into Eurasia, then in The Hall of a Thousand Columns (2005) traced Ibn Battutah's visit to India. Landfalls begins on the island of Kilwa Kiswani in Tanzania which was once a major trading post but is now a sleepy tropical backwater. He also visits Zanzibar, until the middle of the twentieth century an important mercantile centre, though insignificant when Ibn Battutah passed here in the fourteenth century. Time mocks all aspirations to greatness.

Ibn Battutah followed established routes across the Indian Ocean. Mackintosh-Smith shadows him to the Maldives where he notes how Islam overlays an older Tantric Buddhist religion and where ghosts and demons are still very real, even as people text furiously on their mobile phones. In Sri Lanka, he traces Ibn Battutah's visit to Adam's Peak, a sacred spot for Hindus, Buddhists and Christians as well as Muslims. Then he heads to China, visiting the cities of Quanzhou, Guangzhou and Hangzhou where descendants of early Muslim traders as well as modern-day ones can be found. In some ways Islam forms a circle here, the sea traders coming from Arabia, Africa and the Indian sub-continent and the land trading Uighurs travelling overland from the western deserts.

If we think of Ibn Battutah's travels in terms of countries they appear diverse, but if we look at them from the sea, as merchants would have done, it coalesces into a whole that makes sense. In The Sea Kingdoms (2008), Alistair Moffatt showed how the Celtic `fringe' areas of Britain and France appear as an integrated domain when viewed from the seas ploughed by early missionaries and traders. I got a sense here that this is how Ibn Battutah and Muslim traders viewed the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea: this was their watery home and the landfalls markers on its periphery.

In the second part of the book Mackintosh-Smith tries to track Ibn Battutah in west Africa. Modern borders make this more difficult as he ranges over Mauritania, Senegal, Mali and Guinea. In the fourteenth century the empire of Mali was very rich and traded in gold, ivory and slaves. The Sahara was criss-crossed by trade routes linking the north and south, not the barrier we perceive today. Mackintosh-Smith goes in search of an elusive musical instrument mentioned by Ibn Battutah and meets with some (frustratingly) silent sages.

Mackintosh-Smith ends his journey in the Andalusia region of Spain, where Granada was the last sultanate to fall to Christendom. It was already under threat when Ibn Battutah arrived but it was here that he met his future editor and conceived the idea of recording his long travels. It was also here that he met his first critic. Some patterns in life never change.

Following Ibn Battutah is not always easy. He travelled many centuries ago and his descriptions were largely from memory so the details are not always reliable. You can understand why Mackintosh-Smith gets excited when pieces of the jigsaw fall into place.

In Travels with a Tangerine both Ibn Battutah and Tim Mackintosh-Smith came across as scholarly and aloof. Little of either man's character was evident. In The Hall of a Thousand Columns Mackintosh-Smith became more open about his thoughts and reactions, and more interesting as a result, even if Ibn Battutah remained elusive. In this book, both men appear to us as more rounded characters. Ibn Battutah often worked as a judge and he was harsh. He was also a keen guardian of his personal status and took on (and shook off) wives and concubines with gay abandon. He was robbed and shipwrecked, losing almost all of his possessions, but persisted in his curiosity about the world. Mackintosh-Smith shows a similarly formidable persistence in tracing Ibn Battutah's life and in presenting the results in his well-written and accessible books. He comes across as ecumenical and tolerant, in contrast to some of the fundamentalists he meets along the way. Mackintosh-Smith is a long-time student of Arabic and Middle Eastern culture and lives in Yemen. His rich understanding of what he observes shines on every page.

In Andalusia, Ibn Battutah decided it was finally time to go home, and he died in what is now Morocco in 1368 or 1369. In the final pages of this book you also get the sense that Tim Mackintosh-Smith is pondering where `home' might be and whether his wide-ranging travels and obsession with Ibn Battutah have all been worth it.

The book has illustrations by Martin Yeoman who is often Mackintosh-Smith's travelling companion and who has illustrated his earlier books. Yeoman understands what fascinates Mackintosh-Smith and conveys this in his evocative sketches.

It is not clear if Mackintosh-Smith will write more about Ibn Battutah. Certainly he has not exhausted all the places where his subject travelled, either around the Mediterranean or in more exotic locations like the Cham empire in south-east Asia, but the latter part of the book does suggest some soul searching is in progress. Even if Mackintosh-Smith writes no more about this medieval wanderer, his books to date will leave an enviable and treasured legacy.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback