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In Ishmael's House by [GILBERT, MARTIN]
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In Ishmael's House Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Review

`Gilbert explores the relationship between Jews and Muslims from the 7th century to the present day. A valuable, balanced contribution.' --The Times, 4th September 2010

`Gilbert's book is an illuminating and a moving account of the history of the Jews in Arab lands.'
--Avi Shlaim, Financial Times, 29th August 2010

`A complex story that offers a template for the future.'
--Ham & High Wood & Vale, 2nd September 2010

`...a triumph of truth over propaganda...a valuable contribution to restoring Jews to the history books of the Middle East.'
--Lyn Julius, Jewish Chronicle, 15th October 2010

Review

"Gilbert has done what he does best, create a model reference work that is sure to remain a standard for years to come."--Seth J./i>--Seth J. Frantzman "Jerusalem Post "

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2391 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (15 Oct. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0047DVZKA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #487,280 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an important and well-written book which should be widely read, not only by those interested in Jewish history but by those interested in the history of Islam. The US Amazon site has (September 19, 2010) two excellent reviews by James Comfort and L. King with which I entirely agree and which I cannot better.
Gilbert is far from the first to write a more balanced account than is implied by the myth that "Christians and Jews were always treated well under Muslim rule". This myth was not true in the earliest period of Islam, is not true today (with local exceptions) and as for the periods in between please consult the book. There were indeed periods and places in which oppression by Muslims was markedly less severe than oppression by Christians, but the opposite has also commonly been true. Discrimination has been the rule and attacks, killings and massacres of non-Muslims have occurred throughout Muslim history. Exceptions have occurred mainly during periods of strong European influence. Themes of irrational hatred of Jews have passed freely between Europe and Arab lands, such as the enforced use of discriminatory clothing copied from the Muslim past into Nazi policy and the widespread promotion of translated European antisemitic literature in Arab lands in the present. The number of Jews who fled Arab lands with good reason after 1947 was greater than the number of Arabs who fled Israel when it became independent.
But Gilbert's account is not a demolition job. He recounts the good as well as the bad. The good includes heroic actions by Arabs to protect Jews when their lives were in danger and principled actions by Muslim rulers when Muslim mobs were conducting a Pogrom.
If you want to read nice fairy tales, there are plenty of sources you can use. If you want to understand real history, read Gilbert's book.
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Format: Hardcover
Martin Gilbert is to be congratulated on this, his latest work.
He has drawn together a vast amount of information from across the Islamic Empire and, with little or no comment, clearly demonstrates the attitude of traditional Islam towards Jews and those of other faiths. In particular, he demonstrates that the hostility of traditional Islam towards Jews, even today, has little to do with the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, but has been ongoing for 1400 years, since Islam was founded.
Few books have been written about the position and experiences of other faiths living under Islamic rule and Sharia Law and most people in the West are ignorant of this matter. Thus, this well-researched book is extremely useful for reference purposes.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a compelling account of the mixed fortunes of the Jewish communities in lands that became engulfed in the complex world of Islam. It brings home the size of these communities and the remarkable contributions that they made to the countries that, with justification, especially where their residence preceded the advent of the Islamic faith, they regarded as their homes. The climax is reached with the twentieth century story of the emergence of the state of Israel, prompting expulsions that in scale were more than comparable to the exodus of Palestinian refugees. This should be required reading for anyone seeking a balanced understanding of the issues arising from the events of 1948 and subsequent years.

It is a pity that this edition does not contain the illustrations that the author has gathered.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well worth reading. Not anywhere near as good prose as Gilbert's other works. This reads as though he was asked to produce something quickly. Full of references, it is a convincing case that life for Jews, as inferior people under Moslem rule, was harsh for Centuries. But it is an exhausting read, cataloguing one massacre after another. It is the Arab World that populated Israel, their descendants make up more than half the population and they were all robbed, dispossessed and expelled. The book dispels the myth of alien intruders from Europe. Their grandparents have Arabic as their mother tongue. Pity, if this book was an easier read, it could make a significant impact on the Peace process.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a thoroughly researched and comprehensive account that anyone interested in Israeli/Palestinian relations should read.
It's hard to add much to the other reviews that have been written, but after reading this book, I have the following comments:
1. It's not a book that you can read cover-to-cover in a day or two; you need time to reflect on each chapter, partly to prevent yourself from being desensitised to the accounts.
2. If you have a superficial or popular media-influenced view of Israel, you will find it extremely challenging.
3. The author tries hard to end on a high note, with some optimism towards the future. Whilst this is commendable, I find it hard to share his optimism.

This book is essential to understanding how zionist aspirations developed and were fueled mainly by intolerance.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Whilst the author intially sets out in a peaceful and honourable way to pay tribute to the Arab and Muslims lands of the Jewish diaspora, the book in reality quickly become something altogether different. In some ways, he compares Muslim lands favourably with the West's bloody past (neither so bad as the worst, nor so good as the best). Yet it is a tremendous catalogue of unprovoked violence, humiliation, savagery and sheer horror, precisely drawn from historical sources, with Gilbert's characteristic rigour. As one considers the events described, it looks suspiciously like the tip of a much larger iceberg. There is no more effective antidote to the mindless PC whitewash peddled by pseudo-historians of an Andalousian paradise of Islamic tolerance, than a few minutes browsing through these pages. It is difficult not to see the repeated motif of this evil. Its main motivation appears one founded in a jealous, religious determination to disprove the reality of Jewish genius and contribution, and maintain a torn veneer of Muslim cultural supremacy.

As with the Shoah (holocaust) there are scattered islands of nobility and relief from nobler Muslim neighbours, but on the whole the book is a dark and terrible indictment of the midnight of the Middle East, and the mountain of forgotten injustices against the Jews, more especially in the 20th century than in those that preceded it. No wonder that many Middle Eastern Jews who once opposed Zionism found themselves bound to Zion as their only refuge in the gale of malice.
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