Top positive review
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Good military account
on 13 January 2011
The Great Arab Conquests is the story of the spectacular, Arab-led birth and expansion of the Muslim empire, from the Hejira in 626 to its stabilisation around 750. Kennedy's book is extremely easy to follow, and indeed reads like a novel. At the same time, this is serious scholarship, with a valuable introduction on sources and constant discussion of the evidence. My only complaint is that the book gives an almost exclusively military account, with nothing on the emerging Caliphate's politics, including the civil strife that led to the Sunni / Shiite schism - but this would have had to be a 600-page book, I suppose.
PS: Avoid the 2008 Phoenix paperback edition.The punctuation is hopelessly messed up, with no space after each colon, as in this paragraph.This makes it really annoying to read.It is better to get a second-hand copy of the hardcover, which I understand does not have that problem.The editors get a zero for their work on the paperback.