Review From User :
A brilliant book; concise and informative. Bernard Lewis accurately describes the evolution of the Arabs in history. What makes this book so special is the way the author conveys the mindset of people living at a particular time. He gives us an insight into the mind of the medieval Muslim and the medieval Christian. The revelation that nationalism and socialism were imported from the West came as a surprise to me. Bernard Lewis succinctly describes the ills facing modern Muslim society today and how they have failed to come to terms with nationalism or socialism.
My only criticism of the book is a point which I noticed when reading one of his earlier works: 'Islan and Modernity. What went wrong' In that book he cites that for five hundred years Muslim scientific enquiry stopped. He does the same here but as before fails to provide an explanations for this cessation of scientific inquiry. He mentions the term atomism and defines it in context of the medieval Arab; but fails to explain how it diminished the importance of causality for Muslim thinkers. How does a tendency to view life as static disjunct entity result in a culture that stifled scientific enquiry. He also doesn't have much to say about Hellenism's effect on Islam. All he does is state it.
That aside this is a must read for all Muslims.
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