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Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair examine the rise of Islam, the life of Muhammad, and the Islamic principles of faith. They describe the golden age of the Abbasids, the Mongol invasions, and the great Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires that emerged in their wake. Their narrative, complemented by excerpts of the Koran, poetry, biographies, inscriptions, travel guides, and even a thirteenth-century recipe, concludes with a brief epilogue that takes us to the twentieth century. Colorfully illustrated, this book is a wonderful introduction to the rich history of a civilization that still radically affects the world.
Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair are the Norma Jean Calderwood University Professors of Islamic and Asian Art at Boston College. They have written or contributed to many books on the history of Islamic art and architecture and recently served as principal consultants for Gardner Films' acclaimed PBS documentary, Islam: Empire of Faith, for which this book was the companion volume. They are the coauthors of The Art and Architecture of Islam, 1250-1800 (ISBN 0 300 06465 9, pb. [pound]25.00*), published by Yale University Press.
"A timely study and important background to understanding the faith of more than one-fifth of the world's population today." John L. Espositio, University Professor, Georgetown University and author of Islam: The Straight Path and editor of The Oxford History of Islam