on 22 December 2001
Well writen, and comprehensively researched. Perhaps not as stylistically elegant as Richard Fletcher's "Moorish Spain", but Kennedy's work is undoubedtly more valuable with regard to the information it contains. Heartedly recommended to any students of Islamic Spain.
on 23 November 2010
Alongside the work of Bernard Reilly, Bernard Lewis, Kaegi and others Hugh Kennedy has brought a lifetimes dedication in Academe to bring us the intriguing complexity of Muslim history to us in the form of several books on Islam and the history of the Arab conquests.
For years the political history of Al Andalus had lacked a competent historian. My appetite was created by Bernard Reilly in his hugely exciting book on the confrontation of the Christians with Islam from c950 to 1100 in the age of El Cid. This interest was itself nurtured by driving holidays in Spain which took in Cordoba and Granada. So much ink has been expended on the Christian Reconquista but so little on the political history of the Moslems.
In his book Professor Kennedy reveals the fragile extent of Moorish, Berber and Islamic power. How just as the Christian kingdoms witnessed upsurges and downturns in energy, the Ummayyad Emirs based in Cordoba extended their power as well as they were able before the coming of the Party Kings when Al Andalus shivered into squabbling states ripe enough for the Christians to harvest.
Professor Kennedy is our foremost Islamic scholar and this book is a must for anybody intending to holiday in Andalusia as a background to what can be seen and admired there.