Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed . . .
Muhammad may have been the prophet of one of the world’s great religions, but little-known developments after his death set the direction for human events even today. “The future history of much of the world was decided by the actions of a small number of men arguing and debating in the city of
writes Hugh Kennedy. In The Great Arab
Conquests, the British historian investigates how the disunified Arab
tribes and towns banded together around their new faith and seized the Middle
East and Medina North Africa in a lightning assault.
The conversion of most of the region’s people would take centuries, even as
Islam gradually expanded further into the world. Many questions will never be
answered to everyone’s satisfaction. Archaeology is largely silent and the
early Muslim chronicles seem fanciful. Weighing the sources carefully, Kennedy
has composed a vivid and plausible narrative of events that continue to shape
the daily news.