Muhammad's was a life of almost unparalleled historical importance, yet for all the iconic power of his name, the intensely dramatic story of the prophet of Islam is not well known. In The First Muslim, Lesley Hazleton brings him vibrantly to life. Drawing on early eyewitness sources and on history, politics, religion, and psychology, she renders him as a man in full, in all his complexity and vitality. Hazleton's account follows the arc of Muhammad's rise from powerlessness to power, from anonymity to renown, from insignificance to lasting significance. How did a child shunted to the margins end up revolutionizing his world? How did a merchant come to challenge the established order with a new vision of social justice? How did the pariah hounded out of Mecca turn exile into a new and victorious beginning? How did the outsider become the ultimate insider?
Impeccably researched, Hazleton's narrative creates vivid insight into a man navigating between idealism and pragmatism, faith and politics, nonviolence and violence, rejection and acclaim. The First Muslim illuminates not only an immensely significant figure but his lastingly relevant legacy.
©2013 Lesley Hazleton (P)2017 Tantor
"This book offers a welcome chance to read [Muhammad's] life story in a more familiar and accessible form than the Islamic sources.... The First Muslim succeeds. It makes its subject vivid and immediate." (The New York Times)
I'm a dude that enjoys interesting stuff.
This is an excellent book concerning the life and times of Muhammad. It was far more detailed than I expected, and I appreciate that.
The authorship is excellent. However, there are portions of the book that are taken word for word from Hazelton's Life After the Prophet. The re-telling of the stories are fine and stated correctly, but I would think that Hazelton could have changed some of the verbiage around the stories a little. I'm being pretty picky here.
The narration was a little off-putting. The woman performing has kind of a news reporter from the 1980s vibe about her. I'd describe it as a bit of up-talking at the end of long passages. Again, I'm being picky.
Lesley Hazelton's books are phenomenal reads and even greater listens...as she richly provides incredible historic detail and personal accounts steeped in painstaking research.
If I had one complaint here-- is that Hazelton has spoiled me with her other books. The others were read by Hazelton, the author, and her voice and tone are like no other. Hypnotic at times. I only wish she had read this most important book as well. The reader does a fine job. But nothing compares to that deep rich voice of Hazelton doing her own work with the subtleties, pride and perfection it deserves.
If u have any interest in this subject, Islam or the central characters and actions of the time frame that formed this ideology--this should be added to your list of MUST READS...along with "After the Prophet" by Lesley Hazelton.
Two exceptional books.
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