"comprehensive and readable"Asian Affairs
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
The Near East and Islamic society have never been so close to the forefront of international attention. In this time of conflict the Western population is increasingly eager to increase their knowledge of the region’s past. This updated edition of Hugh Kennedy’s popular introduction to the history of the Near East is a timely aid to this quest for knowledge about the roots of Islam.
The Prophet and the Age of Caliphates
is an accessible guide to the history of the Near East from c.600-1050AD, the period in which Islamic society was formed. Beginning with the life of Muhammad and the birth of Islam, Kennedy goes on to explore the great Arab conquests of the seventh century and the golden age of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates when the world of Islam was politically and culturally far more developed than the West. A period of political fragmentation shattered this early unity, never to be recovered.
This new edition takes into account new research on early Islam and contains a fully updated bibliography. Based on extensive reading of the original Arabic sources, Kennedy breaks away from the Orientalist tradition of seeing early Islamic history as a series of ephemeral rulers and pointless battles by drawing attention to underlying long term social and economic processes.
This new edition deals with issues of continuing and increasing relevance in the twenty-first century, when it is, perhaps, more important than ever to understand the early development of the Islamic world. General readers and scholars of early Islamic history will find Kennedy’s book a clear, informative and readable introduction to the subject.
Hugh Kennedy is Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of St Andrews. Previous publications include Crusader Castles; Muslim Spain and Portugal; and Armies of the Caliphs: Military and Society in the early Islamic State.