The book is extremely lucid, readable, sensibly organised, and wears its considerable learning, as they say, lightly BBC History Magazine I cannot imagine any reader not profiting from this tight packed and intelligently presented text BBC History Magazine Brilliant little bookThis highly approachable text is evidently backed by a deep scholarship and is full of eye catching perspectives Steven Poole, The Guardian Silverstein, who teaches the subject at Oxford University, is up to date, shrewd and often wittythe book s lucidity, intelligence and indeed its brevity make it an ideal introduction to the field of studyThe book is a gem, and it deserves a wide readership well beyond the academic community David Morgan, TLSDoes history matter This book argues not that history matters, but that Islamic history does This Very Short Introduction introduces the story of Islamic history the controversies surrounding its study and the significance that it holds for Muslims and for non Muslims alikeOpening with a lucid overview of the rise and spread of Islam, from the seventh to twenty first century, the book charts the evolution of what was originally a small, localised community of believers into an international religion with over a billion adherentsChapters are also dedicated to the peoples Arabs, Persians, and Turks who shaped Islamic history, and to three representative institutions the mosque, jihad, and the caliphate that highlight Islam s diversity over timeFinally, the roles that Islamic history has played in both religious and political contexts are analysed, while stressing the unique status that history enjoys amongst Muslims, especially compared to its lowly place in Western societies where history is often seen as littlethan something that is not to be repeatedSome of the questions that will be answered are How did Islam arise from the obscurity of seventh century Arabia to the headlines of twenty first century media How do we know what we claim to know about Islam s rise and development Why does any of this matter, either to Muslims or to non Muslims ABOUT THE SERIES The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area These pocket sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable

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