This book reveals the parallel "other" narrative of world history to help us make sense of today's world conflicts. Ansary traces the history of the Muslim world from pre-Mohammedan days through 9/11, introducing people, events, empires, legends, and religious disputes, both in terms of what happened and how it was understood and interpreted.
©2009 Tamim Ansary; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Informative and thoroughly engaging....A must read." (Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner)
Conservative Catholic Curmudgeon
While the book is useful for a better understanding of how history looks from the perspective of the Muslim world, Ansary repeatedly demonstrates a shallow understanding of Christianity. His angle on Christian beliefs makes me wonder whether he has ever consulted primary sources on Christianity, rather than secularist caricatures.
It always makes me a bit worried when the parts of a book I know a lot about are off. On the other hand, in a book like this, that could be a virtue. Still don't trust it too far
Provided exactly what I was seeking: a respectful understanding of Muslim history and culture. So rich and complex, to better retain what I have learned, I will be happily listening to this book again. I now see how willfully ignorant Western society has been and strongly support broadly increasing school curriculum on the topic. Knowledge opens minds. Mine wants more.
The style of the book is like story telling. History, which is not my favorite subject, seemed engaging and interesting. The author is unbiased and narrates in a simple, elegant and convincing tone. This is a must if you would like to understand affairs of the present day world. Highly recommended.
Clear and simple. Good coverage and pace, but on balance a bit apologistic, in favor of the West, leaving out many egregious crimes committed by Western corporations.
An engaging narrative, told in an easy to listen style that spoke to an interpretation of history not generally taught in the West. The author is generally non partizan, and often attempts to provide both perspectives without favouring one or the other.
Great book, does an excellent job at presenting a western reader such as myself with a very unique viewpoint I have not experienced before. Highly recommend to anyone who likes history presented in a casual, non-academic way. As the author says in the forward "a history of the Islamic world if you asked him in a coffee shop "so what's with these Muslims and the middle East anyway?"
I also really like that the book is read by the author himself, if only for the pronunciation and intended emotional emphasis on some points.
Navy Wife, Mom of 2
This should be required reading for anyone who would call all Muslim territories. If you fear what you don't understand... then take the time and learn about it
Writing reviews is work. Therefore, I need to be really happy or really unhappy with a book to write one.
This book goes a long way to explain the current conflicts - as the author calls them the "intersecting narratives" between the western and Muslim world. It covers a great deal of history of the Muslim world, beginning before Mohammed and bringing us up to its publication date (2009). Mr. Ansary tells it "warts and all" and covers a great deal of time and space as he does so. There aren't many non-fiction books that I wish had been longer, but I wish he had spent more time in India and North Africa - maybe a follow-up? Being Western-centric it was hard not to draw parallels with the development and spread of Christianity, which made the "disruption" stand out very clearly as the East (or the "Middle" as he calls it) and the West diverged. And, oh yes, I have never encountered a history that was written and read in such a very conversational tone. I listened to most of it in the car and it was like he was right there with me - a very welcome guest.
This comprehensive history of Islam and its encounters through the centuries with the West is written by an author with an in-depth understanding of the underlying factors and diverse perspectives on key defining historical events. This is essential reading for those seeking to penetrate the daily headlines to understand the complex history and roles of multiple players that have led to today's conflicts within the Islamic world and between the Islamic world and the West. An excellent, thoughtful and enlightening read!
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