This is an account and analysis, written from a Marxist perspective, of the life of Muhammad and the early Islamic state.
Rodinson looks at the life of Muhammad from a materialist perspective, examining his relation with Arabian society, politics, class, economics and existing religious beliefs and practices to come to an understanding of Muhammad as a man and Islam as a movement that is grounded in history.
Well written, the translation is good. Rodinson's analysis is sharp. The book is a good antidote to the all too common hyperbole around Islam at the moment.