In just over a hundred years - from the death of Muhammad in 632 to the beginning of the Abbasid Caliphate in 750 - the followers of the Prophet swept across the whole of the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. Their armies threatened states as far flung as the Franks in Western Europe and the Tang Empire in China. The conquered territory was larger than the Roman Empire at its greatest expansion, and it was claimed for the Arabs in roughly half the time. How this collection of Arabian tribes was able to engulf so many empires, states, and armies in such a short period has perplexed historians for centuries. Most accounts of the Arab invasions have been based almost solely on the early Muslim sources, which were composed centuries later to illustrate the divinely chosen status of the Arabs. Robert Hoyland's groundbreaking new history assimilates not only the rich biographical information of the early Muslim sources but also the many non-Arabic sources, contemporaneous or near-contemporaneous with the conquests.
In God's Path begins with a broad picture of the Late Antique world prior to the Prophet's arrival, a world dominated by two superpowers: Byzantium and Sasanian Persia. In between these empires, emerged a distinct Arabian identity, which helped forge the inhabitants of western Arabia into a formidable fighting force. The Arabs are the principal actors in this drama yet, as Hoyland shows, the peoples along the edges of Byzantium and Persia - the Khazars, Bulgars, Avars, and Turks - all played critical roles in the remaking of the old world order. The new faith propagated by Muhammad and his successors made it possible for many of the conquered peoples to join the Arabs in creating the first Islamic Empire.
Well-paced, comprehensive, and eminently readable, In God's Path presents a sweeping narrative of a transformational period in world history.
©2015 Oxford University Press (P)2014 Audible Inc.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
This is an interesting look at how historians view early Islamic conquests and the explanation of their effectiveness by looking at historical documents from Muslim and other historians at the time.
The reason I give it three stars is because it requires you to look at maps in the accompanying reference PDF if you wish to get the most out of this book. While this isn't a big issue if you don't care about maps or geography; it could become annoying if maps matter to you. If that's the case, skip this and get the physical copy instead.
I rate it pretty high and top of the list of all audio books I ever listened.
I picked up a history book after a long time and having read a lot of history books on Rome, Byzantine, Persian and recent Indian history (from 12th century onward) and many from Muslim view point; I find myself in unique position to comment. In my opinion professor did an excellent job gathering up a lot of information and summing up nicely from outsider's view point. It is as unbiased commentary on the events took place between 6th and 8th century events in Arabian peninsula and neighboring regions. Also, how people jumped to the Arab identity and fall back to their ancestral roots later.
It's a non fiction history book on the events that are well known, so mostly I knew what to expect.
All. This book is very intense with lots of information.
Yes. Unfortunately I couldn't but still finished it pretty quickly.
1 - Moghals in India existed till 1857 in Dehli and not 1757 when British sacked the last moghal king Bahadur Shah Zafar.
2 - There is no mention of the food items that those unique communities of 6th to 8th century consumed, as we know that Muslims strictly eat halal meat while Jewish eat Kosher meat and both don’t eat Pigs, hogs or boars etc.
Finally, this book has a lot of information in one place which is very impressive. I hope to read another book on the later events soon by this author.
Probably the first audiobook I've heard in which the reader actually knew how to pronounce Arabic, which I greatly appreciated. Also, Robert Hoyland is really doing some pioneering work on synthesis of data on the Arab Conquests and so I am really happy to see this available on Audible and I hope more is to come!
This is really not a review of the book as I am sure the content is interesting I just could not get past the narration, I kept going back and giving it another try but for whatever reason I just can not listen to the way it was being read. This might be me personally and have had other books that I couldn't listen to but for whatever reason I could not get past the first chapter on this one.
Most historical accounts of Islam are drawn from Muslim sources that fail to acknowledge or appreciate the events surrounding the Muslim conquests. The are often written through a lens that suggests conversion to Islam was based on divine enlightenment rather than as a consequence of oft-times brutal conflicts. The premise of the book is to provide a more balanced account drawing from non-Muslim sources. Unfortunately, the book is written in the style of high school history texts, embellished with a flair of hyperbole ill-suited for a non-fiction work. I am sure a great deal of research went into this book. But the writing filtered out much of the precision of the research. Instead of providing the reader sufficient facts that s/he can envision how the battles were fought, the book often merely states in conclusory fashion that battles were bloody without any description so that the reader would naturally draw that conclusion. Peter Ganim provides a complementary narration, over-dramatizing the text to an unbearable point compelling me to avoid any book narrated by him in the future.
Overall, this book provided much promise but it failed to deliver in both content and narration.
I was really looking forward to reading this book and decided to get it despite some of the reviews about the poor narration. The reviews were right. The narration is just awful. Complete
Snooze fest. I listened to it for 3 hours and just gave up. I'm just it's a great book to read, just not one worth listening to. Audible should have some standards about lousy narration.
Seeking objective history.
LIKE ANY UNKNOWN HISTORY DIFFICULT TO FOLLOW. BUT ENLIGHTEN THE OF RELIGION AND POLITICS IN ISLAM
I CANT POINT TO HIGHLIGHT. IT IS HISTORY UNFOLDING ITSELF.
VERY SLOW NARRATOR VERY DRY HELPED TO DOUBT THE SPEED OF NARRATION
THERE IS NO WHY OF LISTENING IN ONE SITTING. I LEFT THE STORY FOR ANOTHER BOOK IN ORDER TO FINISH
DIFFICULT TO LISTEN TO BUT WORTHWHILE.
I give four stars only. After many books I give higher priority to the following.
1) In the Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire. The book is nearly hypnotic it is so good. But it is for people who know a little bit about the history of Isam as conventially presented. It is full of humor and literary double winks and funny tricks upon the unsuspecting reader. Right from the beginning. And read brilliantly. I never get tired of it.
2) After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam. This is a short light weight read of the conventional type and is useful for its Shia-Sunni emphasis. It it is also an exemplar of the universally presented story. In this regard it would be a good introduction for the initiate. After reading this the other book above would be thouroughly, and amusingly, disorienting.
3) The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews Under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain. The title says it all. This is esential reading for the conversationaly initiated. Even a novice would benefit though because it can stand in its own.
4) The Sultans. The book is just simply an informative hoot of a read! It is not a history of the Ottoman empire just the Sultans. However, it does include an excellent discussion of the establishment of the modern Turkish State. Endlessly entertaining.
If there were a zero stars rating available for this evaluation process, that's the score I would have given this book. The prose are wooden, at best, and for the most part, it sounds like a laundry list of this or that conqueror, who did such and such a thing at a particular time in history. It's everything a history book should not be. I wish I could be kinder, but that would be misleading to people considering buying this book, and it wouldn't be fair.
Not write it.
By giving the reader / listener in-depth portraits of the main players in the historical period of which he speaks. This probably would make a good academic paper, but it certainly doesn't work well as a general publication book.
Well written and well read but very difficult to follow without the maps and insets provided in the paper version of this work. This is a title you would benefit from reading and not listening too.
"Good to read, but works poorly as an audiobook"
This is an interesting book which gives a detailed account of an aspect of history that is typically glossed over. Every other book that I have read/listened to just describes the muslim conquests as very fast -- here one finds details beyond this. However this book does not transfer well to audio format. This is not because the narration is in any way deficient; rather it is the nature of the book. One really needs to refer regularly to map in parallel with the narrative -- the maps are provided as a pdf but having to look them up on the computer while listening rather defeats the purpose of an audiobook. Also there are lots of details that one would skip over while reading, especially the dates of almost every person mentioned. In an audio book these really get in the way of the narrative. Some parts of the book are more discursive and these work fine, but most is historical narrative which suffers from these various problems. Overall my advice is to read this book but not to listen to it.
"A Fascinating Read"
Once sped up to 1.25 or 1.35 the narrator becomes far more enjoyable
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