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Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia's Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane Hardcover – 13 Oct 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 680 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (13 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691157731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691157733
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 177,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review


Honorable Mention for the 2013 PROSE Award in European and World History, Association of American Publishers

One of "Choice"'s Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014


"A fantastic book."--President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan

""Lost Enlightenment" is a remarkable and accessible scholarly tour de force."--David Morgan, "Times Literary Supplement"

"Starr argues rightly that the region's brilliant culture rested on a highly cosmopolitan mix of ethnic groups, languages and religions; a long, rich pre-Islamic intellectual tradition (mainly Buddhist); and prosperity. . . . Starr shines in his core chapters, where he presents the great achievements of the Central Asian philosopher-scientists at a time when their homeland was the creative intellectual capital of the world."--"Nature"

"Starr is that rare scholar with the horsepower to write about the medieval culture of this vast region that is bounded by Persia to the west, and China to the east, and India to the southeast. . . . An indispensable title for scholars, this lively study should prove equally compelling to serious lay readers with an interest in Arabic and medieval thought."--"Library Journal," starred review

"In this graceful, luxuriant history, Starr recovers the stunning contributions of Central Asia scientists, architects, artists, engineers, and historians during the four centuries that began just before the Arab onslaught of the eight century and lasted until the Mongol siege in the thirteenth century. . . . The book offers a lucid exploration of the era's intricate philosophical and theological debates and a succinct depiction of its poetry and art, enhanced by many illustrations."--"Foreign Affairs"

""Lost Enlightenment" is a most amazing book, one with--if we are lucky--the potential to shape global public thinking for decades ahead. . . . "Lost Enlightenment" is an entirely readable, informative and even entertaining book. Although it might surely serve as an inspiration to the modern inhabitants of Central Asia, it should also serve as a warning to any modern nation and civilization that it is tempted to intolerance."--Dimitry Chen, "Asian Review of Books"

"Starr undertakes a daunting task--the intellectual history of Central Asia through the medieval period. Happily, he succeeds. . . . Starr's book is thorough and well researched, and includes ample supplemental material and sources, so that even novice students will find it instructive and useful without being overwhelming."--"Choice"

"This favorable account of Central Asia's intellectual life will enhance any reader's perception of Central Asia and challenge further investigation."--Isenbike Togan, "Bogazici Journal"

"This book does a marvelous job of highlighting the contributions of medieval intellectuals from Central Asia to the history of world civilizations. . . . It is a very informative and readable book."--Richard Foltz, "Fezana Journal"

"In the book "Lost Enlightenment," historian S. Frederick Starr chronicles the long tradition of scientists, mathematicians, engineers and literary intellectuals that flourished in the Iranian- and Turkish-speaking regions of Central Asia."--Noah Smith, "Bloomberg View"

"This book is a must-read for those wanting to understand the development of this vast region of the world and the cultural and religious tides that gave rise to the conflicts we face today."--Carl G. Schuster, "Explorers Journal"

Honorable Mention for the 2013 PROSE Award in European and World History, Association of American Publishers
One of "Choice"'s Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014

From the Back Cover

""Lost Enlightenment" brilliantly re-creates for us the world of Central Asia, which for centuries was not a backwater but a center of world civilization. With a sure mastery of the large historical sweep as well as an eye for detail, Fred Starr has written an important book that will be a resource for years to come."--Francis Fukuyama, author of "The Origins of Political Order"

"For more than three hundred years the Islamic world exercised the scientific and philosophical mastery of Europe. With compelling urgency and lucidity, "Lost Enlightenment" tells the story of the rise and tragic demise of this golden age of Islamic learning in Central Asia. It is a story whose lesson we should never be allowed to forget."--Anthony Pagden, author of "The Enlightenment: And Why It Still Matters"

"From 800 to 1200, Central Asia was the world's most advanced civilization in the sciences, mathematics, medicine, law, and art. Starr's "Lost Enlightenment" thoughtfully explains this astonishing evolution and its end."--Henry A. Kissinger

"Fred Starr makes the most persuasive case yet that medieval Central Asia was a major center of civilization and high culture--and what a picture emerges."--Richard W. Bulliet, Columbia University

"Drawing on his vast knowledge and experience of Central Asia, Fred Starr provides a brilliant account of the history and culture of the land that produced some of the greatest Islamic scholars, scientists, saints, artists, and architects. Thanks to this book, the Central Asian enlightenment is no longer as lost as some might think."--Seyyed Hossein Nasr, George Washington University

"A delight to read, this is a fine survey of the intellectual and cultural history of Central Asia by a distinguished historian. By showing the remarkable discoveries in astronomy, mathematics, medicine, and other fields made by Central Asians from the earliest times, "Lost Enlightenment" is certain to surprise many readers by challenging traditional misconceptions of the region. The book's biographical approach makes for lively reading. Anyone interested in the Silk Roads will find it enthralling."--Morris Rossabi, author of "The Mongols: A Very Short Introduction"

"This ambitious and much-needed book will be an eye-opener for many readers. S. Frederick Starr shows that Central Asia, often viewed today as a backwater, produced some of the most outstanding minds of the Middle Ages."--Peter B. Golden, author of "Central Asia in World History"

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the most interesting and stimulating books I have in many years. I already had some idea of the subject, but I learned a great deal. I feel that people, historians, diplomats, scientists, should read it, and I hope many have, but I fear that many of those who see Europe, and of course the USA, as the greatest source of knowledge and wisdom , will not read it, or not have their prejudices broached.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very well written and researched book on this extraordinary lost Enlightenment.
Very pertinent to the problems posed by the forces of radical religious bigotry and the
destruction they could wreak again, on the progress of science, freedom and knowledge today.[I think]
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating and over do you work on one of the most interesting period of Central Asian history. Most readers will not be aware of the intellectual brilliance exhibited over the centuries in what is currently seen as one of the most backward regions on our planet. The book would have benefited from more careful proofreading and attention to detail, but is nevertheless strongly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
A real eye-opener. Very readable. Having read it, I must admit I had harbored a wholly illogical and ignorant prejudice which this book sets itself to exorcise. I hope this invaluable treatise will be translated into Central Asian languages as well as Persian, Urdu, Hindi etc.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a well researched and highly informative book. It showed that up to 800 years ago, Persia was the world's center of knowledge in math, astronomy, philosophy, medicine, architecture, geometry, poetry and civilization. It was the persian mathematicians such as Biruni who first theoretically discovered and proved that the earth was round and calcualted the diameter of the earth, which is only 2.3 miles less than what it is today, and proved that there must be a continent on the other side of the atlantic ocean and approximately where and he invented a sun dial/compas that was later used by Columbus to discover America. He then concludes that Arab invasion and islam ended this age of enlightenment. Highly recommended reading.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book at a very fair price. It arrived as promised well packed and in pristine condition. Very happy and thank you.
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