I know it sounds cliché, but I really had a hard time putting this book down.
It is said that the best method of looking at history is to try and step into the era you wish to study looking ahead and envisage what took place. Amin Maaloof’s book is just right in that it allows the reader to truly feel part of the Muslim nation as it witnessed the crusades with all the shame and glory it brought. It has the ability to bring to the reader the actual emotions and feelings that the Muslims, from its leaders right down to the lay masses, experienced, whilst condensing 200 years of action-filled history into one volume.
The award-winning novelist Amin Maalouf has been highly praised for this thoroughly researched work, especially from non-Muslim sources, even though The Crusades Through Arab Eyes sets out to redress the balance (after centuries of historical bias) by presenting the Arab side of the Crusades in their own words. The most unique aspect of this book is that the book comprises a story and a historical discussion rolled into one, and to the author’s credit he never overextends himself into polemics – something left for the professional historians.
The book presents a chronicle of the crusades based entirely upon Muslim historical sources, and even in being presented so, it has the virtue of not being written in a mind-numbing and monotone form but instead very fluid.
The subject matter will be engrossing to anyone interested in gaining an introduction to this famous chapter in Muslim history whilst also finding numerous parallels between these medieval occurrences and current events. This is certainly a book that every Muslim should read.
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