Top critical review
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A broad but sketchy overview
on 27 February 2009
Even for those who have read about early Arab and Persian science before, 'Science & Islam' may contain some new insights, such as the fact that Copernicus copied some of his illustrations directely from Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, a Persian astronomer. On the other hand, Ehsan Masood remains vague about what it precisely was that Copernicus copied. This is a pattern.
Standing for the task to introduce muslim science to a lay audience mr. Masood has chosen not to delve too far into the actual science, but to sketch the historical circumstances under which science could flourish. After all, he could not assume his readers to have any knowledge of the caliphs and their 'houses of wisdom'.
So, this is not a book that fills the usual gap in history of science books when it comes to the non-western middle ages. Such books, however, take readers' knowledge of broad political and social circumstances for granted. Read this as a broad introduction and mr. Masood has done an excellent job. However, those seeking more thorough knowledge about the actual achievements of muslim scientists will likely be disappointed.