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)
The author delivers a comprehensive look at the "Middle World" from the beginnings of civilization through today. The author reads the story and his voice and cadence is extremely satisfying and easy to listen to for extended periods.
While this is far from a dry recap of simple dates, there doesn't feel like an agenda is behind the telling. The author does offer his own theories and interpretations behind events described, he is very honest about the successes and failures of the region.
I have not heard any others, but certainly plan to.
Learning about the development of the Islamic faith in the early days after the death of Muhammad was simply fascinating and offered immediate insight into some of the turmoil of today.
Anyone who has even a passing interest in history would enjoy this story. It's extremely well written. There is a bit of a drag about halfway through during an extensive discussion of Islamic theologians, but is worth powering through.
Big picture perspective of Islamic thought, culture, (and yes) history told by narrator who does a great job of referencing Western historical and cultural landmarks to keep the reader engaged.
Completely reframed how I think about the Islamic world and current events thereof.
On the go as a mother, wife, and professional, and an avid reader of just about anything, especially history and fiction.
It gave me a broad understanding of the history, development, and contributions of Islam and of Muslims. I feel cheated that I didn't learn this 30 years ago when I was in school.
It would have helped to me to have a PDF with significant names, dates, locations to refer to, like a timeline.
So easy to listen to! I felt like he was sitting with me in my living room.
There were several moments like that. Particularly those that brought the persons to life.
I highly recommend this for anyone who doesn't yet have a comprehension of the ways in which Islam and Muslims have contributed to our present world. At a time when understanding others' perspectives is imperative, this seems like a good way to start.
I had no notion of the history of Islam before now and this book so eloquently wove the two timelines if Islam and Christianity together for me.
Most of us who grew up outside the Islamic world have enormous gaps in our understanding of the most important events in Islamic history. With precision, efficiency and subtle humor, Tamim Ansary illuminates these gaps and helps pave the way for a more complete view of the human story - one we all need to understand more clearly as civilizations continue to intersect in increasingly visible ways.
A different view point, an offer to "....see ourselves as others see us."
No more, no less.
Yes, as seeing through different eyes.
From my own lifetime experience, I am quite familiar with how outsiders can misunderstand and distort religious history, so for me this was in inviting topic. I was pleased to add to my readings on Islam, and anxious to hear an inside view of Islamic history, but the title is not correct. It is not history as seen through Islamic eyes, but history as Islam would like to be seen. There is a lot of history that is held with pride within Islam, but is not mentioned heavily smoothed over for outside consumption. I know it is rare to find honest history, but I am disappointed when it becomes so overtly altered for the sake of propaganda. Just the same, it is a view that should be understood and I enjoyed the new perspective.
This book helped me find hope that the seemingly inevitable war of the west with Islam can be diverted through the understanding of a mutual history. This mutually inclusive storyline is achievable ,and the path to peace is possible if we learn to understand were the "enemy"is coming from and how we helped "them" get here. Tamim helped me fill the blank spot in my own understanding of world history, and in doing so shown a light on the path to understanding the middle world. An important book for all seeking answers to the great questions posed by the current global clashes of the west with Islam. This book in know way defends terrorism or assumes that the "destiny disrupted" is the path history should have taken or still may take. It gives deep insight to the core of ideals and doctrines that have lead to the current horrifying situation. A must read for all (especially westerners) who hope and pray for a lasting peaceful solution to the problems presented in the current economic geo-political climate
Ansary relates it to his life experiences and tells this history in an almost 'folksy' manner. He makes history entertaining.
Most Americans know very little about Islam and numerous and often competitive cultures it encompasses. Ansary does an excellent job explaining how after 1400 years Islam got to it's current state.
I listened to this book because I thought I OUGHT to do so--given the current world situation. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. And not only did it give me a better understanding of the history of Islamic world, but the contrasts with various countries in western Europe also help me better understand those countries--particularly with respect to the evolution of the concept of a "nation".
I particularly liked the fact that Ansary both writes and speaks in a style that doesn't leaving you feeling he is pushing a particular agenda. And when his comments amount to speculation he carefully identifies them as such.
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