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Publisher's Summary

Scholars, journalists, and politicians uphold Muslim-ruled medieval Spain - "al-Andalus" - as a multicultural paradise, a place where Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived in harmony.

There is only one problem with this widely accepted account: It is a myth.

In this groundbreaking book, Northwestern University scholar Darío Fernández-Morera tells the full story of Islamic Spain. The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise shines light on hidden features of this medieval culture by drawing on an abundance of primary sources that scholars have ignored, as well as archaeological evidence only recently unearthed.

As professors, politicians, and pundits continue to celebrate Islamic Spain for its "multiculturalism" and "diversity", Fernández-Morera sets the record straight - showing that a politically useful myth is a myth nonetheless.

©2016 Darío Fernández-Morera (P)2016 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Courageous book

The reader was superlative. And I've heard a lot if audio books. And the book is an act of intellectual courage.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Too Little Content and a Bit Polemic

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not really. It's not that the book didn't have some useful content - it's just that it could have been said in 25-50 pages. The books was also too polemic for my comfort - I do actually agree with his view of Andalusia (for the same reasons, most of which I already knew) but I am distrustful of books out to prove a premise, even if the premise is correct. I understand he was writing to show why current academia is wrong on this, but I still prefer a truth seeking book, not an "I'm going to prove you wrong" presentation. Although I wouldn't call this an anti-Muslim book, it will be interpreted as such because of the way it is written, since we are in a time and culture where consigning everything Islamic to hell on earth is common.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Authoritative

Absolutely dripping with concrete, reliable and unapologetic facts that shed needed attention to Islamic Spain. Dario gives no quarters as he unveils the numerous a-historic "scholar's" views and statements around the topic going from the 8-15th century that either mislead or deliberately lie on behalf of the Muslim rulers or shame the Christian victims.

So refreshing to not be force feed lies! Recommend highly!

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Great book

It was very interesting to read this book. Being raised on the other side of the Mediterranean I was familiar with the history of the brutal occupation of the Near East and present day Greece by the Ottoman Turks. So it makes perfect sense to me to hear stories and examples from Muslim occupied Spain that were exactly the same as the Ottoman Turk occupation of Christian lands.

Why would Muslim domination be any different elsewhere?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic read!

This book is an extremely well written, well cited, and informative look at an often misrepresented chapter of history.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent book of the true story of Spain under The Muslims.

This book turned out to be excellent and I became more excited about it as it went on. At first the scholarly nature, and somewhat flat narration, of the book made it initially troublesome to follow. However, after persevering through the first chapter, I came to appreciate the author's depth of research and the tremendous amount of original sources, both Christian and Muslim, which the author referenced to prove the author's arguments. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has been suspicious of the "history" portrayed as conventional wisdom in mainstream liberal, frequently anti-Christian, writings, which are read without question by most and accepted, from the time of elementary school on, as "the truth".

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A balanced, intelligent book

All told of the 20 or so audiobooks I have downloaded this is one of the best. You will learn a lot about Islam and how it behaves as ur takes over societies. The treatment of the Spanish visigothic civilization as a flower nipped in the bud, indeed as a subaltern society is spot on. The outright lies and half-truths a lot of academics write about medieval Spanish convivencia under Islam are exposed in a workman-like fashion. The motivation of these academics is not explored however. The narration is a bit rushed, and lacks emotional depth.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Z
  • 09-25-16

Great book!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

It tells the truth of the myth that was Córdoba. The author uses actual sources from Muslim, Christian and Jewish scholars and eyewitness accounts.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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I should have known better all along.

I have been a casual student of Greek, Roman and Islamic history for a long time and nothing documented here was a surprise to me. What was surprising is I never bothered to deliberately connect the obvious dots for the relevant picture of Spain! For example, I was aware Spain at the time of the conquest was ruled by Visigothic aristocracy of several centuries duration. I also knew Arab and Berber forces displaced them.

What I failed to appreciate was the Arabs and Berbers were several orders of magnitude lower on the barbarian scrotum pole then the aristocracy they replaced. If not for the reconquest Spain today would be culturally North African. Think Algeria.

PS: I seldom buy a book rated below 4.4 and in this case consulted Goodreads because so few ratings have been made so far. Goodreads generally runs about one half point lower then Audible and this book had 4.4 That is one of the highest ratings I have ever seen there.

29 of 38 people found this review helpful

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Superb

Since the aftermath of the 9/11/2001 attacks, it's been a struggle finding honest scholars and authors on the religion and the history of Islam. But for these few courageous authors, how are we to understand the history and ideology that has led to contemporary events in Israel, the greater Middle East and North Africa; in Europe and America? Professor Dario Fernandez Morera's book is a scholarly and at times technical but easy enough reading. There is best-selling and popular author Robert Spencer whose books are read by a wide audience, available here at Audible. I highly recommend both authors.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 09-30-16

An inconvenient truth

Full of information and enjoyable narrative. A must for those who have hunger for truth over fairy tales.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrea Zuvich
  • 01-08-17

Brilliant

Brilliant, engaging, and meticulously researched, this book ought to be required reading in high schools and for any adult who wishes to be more knowledgeable about the true Islamic impact on Spain.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jose F Miranda
  • 01-02-17

Great history. Eye opening.

Excellent book by anyone interested in Spanish, European and medieval history. Reading a tad mechanical but clear. The history as it should be told, based on evidence.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anthony M
  • 12-25-16

An important book with relevance for now

Referencing a vast collection of Muslim, Christian and Jewish sources past and present the author clarifies Islam as an ideology of conquest whose ultimate expression in armed Jihad and goal quite literally world domination expressed explicitly in the Quran and numerous Hadith. Contrary to fashionable whimsical contemporary academic analysis the Muslim conquest of Spain.and its subsequent rule was brutal and uncompromising designed foremost to uphold the supremacy of Arab Muslims over its conquered subjects, prevent them "contaminating" Islam and extort from them protection money in the form of special taxes - all practices mandated by the Quran and upheld by Islam to this day.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Alex
  • 07-10-17

A harrowing account of Islamic Spain

Andalus is often cited as an example of Islamic tolerance and enlightenment. The politically correct academics who make such statements tend to overlook Berber dynasties, if they are aware of these groups at all. This book provides a reconsideration of the earlier, relatively milder period as well. The possibility of being branded a racist for presenting inconvenient facts about a religion, or of loss of funding for Middle Eastern Studies departments (much of which comes from repressive Middle Eastern regimes), have often prevented a truly honest and balanced look at Islamic Spain.

Each chapter provides a thematic examination of a different subject, from Jihad to women's rights and the treatment of religious minorities. The parade of horrors is not for the faint of heart. We hear of the widespread use of infidel women as sex slaves, some girls as young as 11 years. Based on strong primary source evidence, the author argues that there is at least the strong possibility that female genital mutilation was practiced among the Muslims of Spain. Religious minorities were humiliated and taxed at higher rates, but at least they were allowed to exist initially.

Because the book argues against conventional wisdom, it can't make claims like "Islamic Spain was a beacon of tolerance" without backing them up. So for each claim, a lot of evidence and different examples are cited. This may be tiresome for some people. While an honest look at the evidence in this book would lead to most of the author's claims being accepted, it is most likely that the politically correct establishment will simply ignore it, because it goes against their narrative.

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  • Ariel
  • 04-10-17

Extremely informative


Excellent book

You cannot help but feeling that all the price lavished upon tolerant “Al-Andaluz” is ideologically motivated and something doesn’t seem right. Fernandez Morera’s book proves this point very clearly. It not only provides common sense arguments such as “If Gothic Spain ‘deserved’ to be conquered by a more modern and enlightened people, with didn’t Meso-America or India deserved to be conquered too?” or “If Christians had to be happy with their second class citizenship why blacks in Southern US didn’t have to be happy too?”; The book also provides actual evidence from primary sources showing that “Al-Andaluz” wasn’t either tolerant o enlightened.

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  • Hector Chub
  • 11-19-16

Boring boring boring

A scholarly work, tedious in the execution and read very badly. Makes use of 20 examples when a couple would do. Rigorous scholarship. Yawn

1 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Kolia Zhivago
  • 09-20-17

Muslim Spain was not a nice place

This scholarly work vividly exposes the lie that Muslim Spain was a haven of tolerance and high Muslim culture. It's a must read for all who want to understand the richness of Visigoth Spain and how it was overshadowed and subsumed by heartless invaders whose fanatical religious iconoclastic zeal cast a shadow and stain on Europe that must be seen for what it was and not romanticized by modern politically correct revisionists.