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The Race for Paradise: An Islamic History of the Crusades Hardcover – 24 Jul 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; First Edition edition (24 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019953201X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199532018
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.6 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 65,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

What Cobb creates is a broad geographic and chronological context for the Crusades (Times Literary Supplement)

The 2014 book that most decisively forced me to rethink my understanding of the past (Theodore K. Rabb, TLS)

refreshing and illuminating ... a fascinating account (BBC History Magazine)

The Race for Paradise increases our understanding of the past, as well as of the world we live in. (The Writer's Drawer)

As Paul Cobb demonstrates in his splendidly detailed and timely narrative, Islamic authors and writers in Arabic showed a keen interest in the medieval Christian interlopers into the Muslim world, in political events and in the ideology of jihad that these conflicts revived. Cobb provides a useful corrective to ill-informed assumptions about medieval Islam and later Muslic recollections of the Crusades.

[A] lively and scholarly book (Peter Jackson, The Tablet)

[A] welcome contribution to the subject. (Svenska Dagbladet)

it is an important, paradigm-shifting work nonetheless. Future scholars owe Cobb their thanks. (Dan Jones, Sunday Times)

He [Cobb] tells that history very well. (Robert Irwin, Literary Review)

This is an excellent book - lucid, insightful and informative. Cobb brings a fresh perspective to contact between Muslims and Christians during the medieval period, energetically transporting us across Islamic lands from Cordova to Baghdad, via Palermo, Cairo, Jerusalem and Damascus. Sharply-chosen anecdotes cleverly illuminate life beyond the confines of holy war to give a broad and rewarding understanding of the true context and multi-faceted nature of this complex and highly important relationship. (Jonathan Phillips, author of Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades)

Lively and enjoyable reading, Paul Cobb's The Race for Paradise also offers new insights into the well-worn territory of Crusades history, particularly by showing how the Crusades were part of a broader penetration of Latin Christian powers into the Mediterranean world in the second half of the eleventh century. (Hugh Kennedy, SOAS, University of London)

Paul Cobb's The Race for Paradise proves why medieval European history is not the only domain for Crusades study. With a fluid style and superb knowledge of sources, Cobb masterfully enshrines the Islamic narratives, reflecting several genres of scholarship, as fundamentally informative for Crusader history, and that the latter ought to be seen also as reflective of dynamics within the Islamic world. Indispensable for anyone interested in understanding the Crusades and the Muslim World at that time." (Suleiman A. Mourad, Smith College)

[H]ighly original and above all a pleasure to read - a superb overview for the general and the specialised reader alike that sets the Crusades within the larger framework of Islamic history. (Konrad Hirschler, SOAS, University of London)

About the Author

Paul M. Cobb is Professor of Islamic History at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous books and studies, including a translation of the Arabic memoirs of a Muslim eyewitness to the Crusades published as The Book of Contemplation: Islam and the Crusades (2008). A recognized authority on relations between Islam and the West during the Middle Ages, he has travelled widely throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. He divides his time between teaching in Philadelphia and farming in his home town of Amherst, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 3 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
Cobb refreshes the traditional narratives of the ‘crusades’ by looking at the story not from the western point of view, but from the medieval Islamic sources which recorded the events contemporaneously. By doing this, he transforms the crusades from merely being a part of medieval European history into a set of events which also need to be understood within the context of Islamic history and the complicated relationships between medieval Islamic states and other societies. As he says, this shifts the crusades away from ‘an exotic episode of an otherwise stay-at-home medieval history’ into something different.

Akin to the way in which the ‘renaissance’ varies according to which countries might be under consideration but also gender (“did women have a renaissance?”) and class, so here the boundaries of what constitutes ‘the crusades’ also gets renewed. Cobb reads the Islamic sources that may have been ignored, not always intentionally, by ‘traditional’ historians and so re-opens what the ‘crusades’ are and how we might think about these events. As part of an ongoing academic project of refreshing historical perspectives, this explores ‘the other stories that lay behind our histories’.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joy Halton on 10 Oct. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really interesting to read about "the other side"
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By m. dosa on 10 Dec. 2014
Format: Hardcover
A great book Cobb illuminates the crusades from a muslim historic perspective .shows the politics and fighting for power within the various dynasties the interaction between the western powers in both war and peace
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jameel on 4 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Loved it. Still going through. Good research/knowledge. Would recommend.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I would expect a more elaborate analysis at the end ... 23 Nov. 2014
By Vladimir Slavik - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I would expect a more elaborate analysis at the end of the book. There were just few paragraphs trying to explain the differences between the middle age and the present islamic society.
0 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Five Stars 18 Oct. 2014
By Carl-Uno - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting alternative view of history
1 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Five Stars 15 Aug. 2014
By Christine B. Astley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book. Great service.
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