11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 17 August 2008
As the saying goes 'do not judge a book by its cover'. Well, when I saw the cover of this book - the automatic reaction was: `this looks interesting and I think I will buy this book.' On reading the book, I was slightly disappointed in that it did not live up to my expectations, as I had already read another book with the same title by another author. I found the translation of Arabic that reminded me of some the Qu'ranic translations which were initially translated in this type of archaic style. Prior to the ground-breaking translations of the holy Qu'ran by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall (1930) Abdullah Yusuf Ali (1934) the Arabic translations were written in this type of archaic style. The other ground-breaking exponent was H. A. R. Gibb (1929) in his translation/selection of "The travels of Ibn Battuta."
However, despite these points, I think the book has some rare insights into the geography, history and travel in the period Ibn Battuta (IB) lived. Overall, I think it is a useful source book for students and scholars with the minus points of being a bit awkward to read and you need to be really interested in it, to get your full attention and if it was written a bit more simply then it would get over this problem!
As I have mentioned, the book by H.A.R Gibb is very good and I would also add that Ross E. Dunn is also excellent in covering the travels of Ibn Battuta. Finally, several books by Tim Mackintosh-Smith on IB seem to be great - on reading the reviews on Amazon.