In 1099, when the first Frankish invaders arrived before the walls of Jerusalem, they had carved out a Christian European presence in the Islamic world that endured for centuries, bolstered by subsequent waves of new crusaders and pilgrims. The story of how this group of warriors, driven by faith, greed, and wanderlust, created new Christian-ruled states in parts of the Middle East is one of the best-known in history. Yet it offers not even half of the story, for it is based almost exclusively on Western sources and overlooks entirely the perspective of the crusaded. How did medieval Muslims perceive what happened?
In The Race for Paradise, Paul M. Cobb offers a new history of the confrontations between Muslims and Franks we now call the "Crusades", one that emphasizes the diversity of Muslim experiences of the European holy war. There is more to the story than Jerusalem, the Templars, Saladin, and the Assassins. Cobb considers the Arab perspective on all shores of the Muslim Mediterranean, from Spain to Syria. In the process, he shows that this is not a straightforward story of warriors and kings clashing in the Holy Land, but a more complicated tale of border-crossers and turncoats; of embassies and merchants; of scholars and spies, all of them seeking to manage a new threat from the barbarian fringes of their ordered world. When seen from the perspective of medieval Muslims, the Crusades emerge as something altogether different from the high-flying rhetoric of the European chronicles: as a cultural encounter to ponder, a diplomatic chess-game to be mastered, a commercial opportunity to be seized, and as so often happened, a political challenge to be exploited by ambitious rulers making canny use of the language of jihad.
The Race for Paradise fills a significant historical gap, considering in a new light the events that distinctively shaped Muslim experiences of Europeans until the close of the Middle Ages.
©2014 Paul M. Cobb (P)2014 Audible Inc.
Always good to go back in time, and Cobb puts us squarely into an era so often read from a one sided, Western/Christian point of reference. Here instead, you get a Western read of the Islamic POV of the Crusades and you find that these centuries of rampage and pillage were part of a long litany of expansionist endeavors by both sides, a constant ebb and flow of hegemony hard won throughout the medieval Levant and lands around the Mediterranean. Hard not to draw references to today's constant turmoil in the Islamic Near East. Much food for thought as Cobb clarifies the nomenclature of Muslim Jihad, especially in reference to the body of preconceptions that surround the historical notions of the Crusades. And Cobb's reading is terrific and sometimes a bit hypnotic. He really takes you into the era, as scholar and as poet. I look forward to what he writes, and reads, next.
The reading of the book was done exquisitely. Proper tone and voice inflection made this an interesting book to listen to.
Sulamid was my favorite character as he was a great and fair ruler as depicted by the book.
Yes I have. This performance compares superb.
I was moved to hear the vanquishing of the Muslim religion in Sicily.
Objective and thoroughly researched.
Unfortunately, I have no basis for comparison.
I don't like this question. He was a competent narrator and was certainly more than capable of holding the listeners attention...but he's no Morgan Freeman. That's not a slight, it's just the truth. Unfortunately Morgan Freeman can't just read every audio book for us. This guy did the best job he could given that he isn't Morgan Freeman.
The author seeks to recount the story of the Crusades from the prospective of the Muslim world. He does a good job of distinguishing the differences between the two perspectives for the less knowledgeable reader. It was well written, well researched and easy to understand. The author was very objective and did not seek to demonize either side which makes the material understandably dry. The book simply recounts the actions of both sides based on the source documents which makes it a great listen for students or for those seeking personal knowledge on the topic but not ideal for those looking for an interesting weekend read.
Yes. I learned a lot about the crusades from a perspective that's not usually discussed in this much details
Yes. Again, I think it offers a great new perspective.
The one where everyone kills each other.
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