God's Crucible

God's Crucible

Islam and the Making of Europe, 570 to 1215

Book - 2008
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Hailed by critics as an essential book, God's Crucible is a bold, new interpretation of Islamic Spain and the birth of Europe from one of our greatest historians. David Levering Lewis's narrative, filled with accounts of some of the greatest battles in world history, reveals how cosmopolitan, Muslim al-Andalus flourished--a beacon of cooperation and tolerance--while proto-Europe floundered in opposition.At the beginning of the eighth century, the Arabs brought a momentous revolution in power, religion, and culture to Dark Ages Europe. David Levering Lewis's masterful history begins with the fall of the Persian and Roman empires, followed by the rise of the prophet Muhammad and the creation of Muslim Spain. Five centuries of engagement between the Muslim imperium and an emerging Europe followed, from the Muslim conquest of Visigoth Hispania in 711 to Latin Christendom's declaration of unconditional warfare on the Caliphate in 1215. Lewis's narrative, filled with accounts of some of the greatest battles in world history, reveals how cosmopolitan, Muslim al-Andalus flourished--a beacon of cooperation and tolerance between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity--while proto-Europe, defining itself in opposition to Islam, made virtues out of hereditary aristocracy, religious intolerance, perpetual war, and slavery. A cautionary tale, God's Crucible provides a new interpretation of world-altering events whose influence remains as current as today's headlines.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, c2008.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780393064728
0393064727
Branch Call Number: 940.1 LEWIS D
Characteristics: xxv, 473 pages, [8] pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 25 cm.

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lvb125
Jun 04, 2012

Well written, informative and enjoyable reading.

I will recommend this book to all; despite two noticable shortcoming: 1) Strange redundencies occur at several points in the book: almost verbatim paragraphs occur within two or three pages (a product of what I suspect to be artifacts of rewrites during the creation process that, for some reason, made it past the editor). This is not a problem, especially because these redundant paragraphs contain important points. It is, however, awkward. 2) The primer provided in the first chapter for the history of the Classical Roman world--an understanding of which is certainly contextually useful, if not essential--is just too truncated. It would have been better, in my opinion, to have left out the poor primer and assumed the prerequisite knowelge in the reader.
These are small issues however. The book is good. Go ahead, read it!

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