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What you learn from the Very Short Introduction series.

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Art History: A Very Short Introduction - Dana Arnold

Publication Date:. Product description:. Customer Reviews On Amazon:. Format: Paperback Verified Purchase. Silverstein's monograph is a fairly quick read, and well worth the effort. The history is rather sparse, as the title implies, but it makes a nice companion to something more detailed like Berkey's "The Formation of Islam.

This was a decent intro to Islamic history from a Western historian's point of view. Most books about Islam that are written by Western scholars tend to be overly critical in my opinion. Generally I prefer to read an anthropologist's take on Islamic issues if I'm to read a piece written from a non-Muslim, simply because they are less biased. I took a chance with this one, and found it to still be pretty good. Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. The Book is so easy to understand and provides a wonderful gateway into the importance and history of Islamic religion and society.

By giving historical background, the author clarifies the reasons and meanings behind 20th and 21st century events. There are many maps, photos, and short excerpts included in the book so readers can easily understand what the author is explaining. Appreciated what I learned, the quality of the writing, the nature of the analysis. Realize that it is a "short introduction" but felt that I got a very good overview.

Excellent read. Thank you. This book is valuable not only for a historical overview of Islamic tradition, but for the insightful last chapter on current Islam and world perception of it. This book is respectful of the religion while being forthright about some of the less pretty parts of its history. The style of the book is very accessible I may want to read a multi-volume work in Islam in the future, but not this weekend. Silverstein, an Oxford professor, writes with the clarity and simplicity that I would love to emulate. His exquisite style makes reading this complex history much easier than it might be in less capable hands.

As for the accuracy of his historical account, I have no basis for judgment. Nevertheless, I would recommend this slight volume to anyone seeking a brief introduction to Islam. Gianotti's book includes autobiographical information describing how he came to Islam. Most people are surprised that I am reading a book on Islam written by a westerner, that too, being a Muslim myself. But this is a very honest summary of the cultural and historical impact and importance of Islam.

Its a very honest assessment and it got me hooked on Islamic history so much that I couldnt stop browsing the net for two weeks, scouring for more info. Very informative and provides several arguments and counter arguments, so that you can decide for yourself. Islam is a religion that originated in 7th century Arabian Peninsula. In many respects Islam is unique in that it very closely intertwines the politics and religion, and hence it makes much more sense to talk about Islamic History than for instance Buddhist history or even Christian history.

The author of this book does not endorse the idea that there is no "separation of church and state" in Islam, and he provides ample historical evidence to support that view. However, it is hard to argue that Islam is not an all-encompassing religious system that aims to shape the society in all of its aspects. There are hardly any doctrinal differences between Sunnis and Shias for instance. The book strikes the right tone between being unduly politically correct at one extreme, and having a completely uncritical negative knee-jerk reaction to everything that has to do with Islam.

Reward Yourself

Unfortunately these two extreme viewpoints have been dominant in the media, and in the case of the former have even entered the academic discussions of Islam. Silverstein rejects this notion that Islam and Islamic history should be viewed uncritically, and succeeds in providing a highly plausible and interesting view of this subject. Some of the ideas presented in the book are very intriguing like the observation that the use of camels was crucial for the early Islamic expansion and will probably make you think.

In the end, whether you are interested in Islam, history or are just a generally curious person, you will enjoy reading this very well written short book. Jan 11, Daniel Wright rated it really liked it Shelves: history , other-history , vsi , religion , religion-history , islam. A very accessible and balanced introduction. Nov 04, David Roberts rated it it was amazing.

On Very Short Introductions

This book looks at the history of Islam from its origins to the present day and is part of a series where they get an expert to write about a subject in around pages. I have read and reviewed quite a lot of these books and they're pretty good.

Islam originated in the 7th century when Mohammed had visions of God and the way Islam spread is little short of phenomenal. There are many different sects in Islam. They split over Mohammed's successor the one group followed one and the other group followed the other. Mohammed didn't designate who his successor should be.

Another sect is the sufism group who believe you have a spiritual relationship with God and are famous for their sufi dancing which is a form of dancing that helps them achieve enlightenment in much the same way Buddhists do through meditation. I think this trading tended to be a little one sided like the trading with America.

In Morocco nowadays they have the biggest mosque in the world with the tallest minaret at around ft. In London they are building the biggest mosque in Europe near the site of the Olympic Games. I really enjoyed reading this book and it's very interesting. Nov 09, Randall Russell rated it did not like it.

I didn't enjoy this book at all. Even though it was short pages , I found it quite difficult to get through. Overall the book was boring, written in a pedantic style, it was hard to follow, and a lot of the book was about historiography and the impact of Islamic history on the present, as opposed to actual Islamic history. I was hoping for a short, insightful introduction to Islamic history, but this is definitely not it. Look elsewhere! Sep 05, Ryan Patrick rated it really liked it Shelves: medieval-history , non-fiction A very useful perspective for understanding the general misunderstanding between the Western world and the Islamic world.

In a nutshell: Islam looks to its history for guidance in the present and future, while the West basically wants to escape its past into the future, and neither side can understand the other's perspective. Dec 04, Christopher Roberts rated it it was amazing Shelves: religion. The religion books in this series have left a lot to be desired but this is a very good and densely packed intro to Islamic History.

It balances the complexity of the issues involved very well. A resource for undergrads. Mar 23, Rob Bauer rated it liked it Shelves: non-us-history. The author takes an interesting approach to this book. Rather than focusing on political history, like many previous books in Oxford's "Short Introduction" series that I've read, Adam Silverstein approaches the subject of Islamic History from many angles. There's some historical political narrative, certainly, but the reader also learns about divisions within the religion, especially the division over how legitimate leadership is transferred within the umma community of believers and how this The author takes an interesting approach to this book.

There's some historical political narrative, certainly, but the reader also learns about divisions within the religion, especially the division over how legitimate leadership is transferred within the umma community of believers and how this has impacted the development of Islamic religion historically.


We also read about some of the different ethnic or national groups heavily influenced by Islam historically, but, of course, they have also exerted influence on the development of the religion. The reader also gets a brief a bit too brief, in my eyes view of how people have written about Islam historically, as well as a look at the sources Muslims call on for religious authority. The greatest issue with this book is that it is meant to be a brief introduction but deals with some issues best understood by specialists.

Being a professional historian but not a specialist on this topic, I have a functional knowledge of the history under discussion.

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At times, I found myself hoping for more information on certain issues to fully understand them; a reader with little previous experience would struggle with these parts.