Islam: A Short History Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Islam: A Short History

Armstrong provides a concise political and religious history of the Muslim world, beginning with the Qur'anic revelation to Muhammad in 610AD through the present day. She covers the early caliphate leaders of the 7th century and the first fitnah, which led to civil war in the Arab world. She discusses the role of the Umayyads in the second fitnah and the religious division between the Sunnis, the Shiites, and the Sufis. The author uses the Abbasid period of the 8th and 9th centuries to show how the Muslim community used their faith to adapt to numerous political changes that ultimately crumbled the caliphate and ushered in the Sunni Iranian dynasty. The 14th century Crusades led to the Muslim subjugation to the Mongols, but prepared Muslims for the imperial Islam of the Ottoman Empire. Armstrong concludes by introducing the modern democracies of the Western world and their influence on Islam. She discusses the modern Islamic state and how Islamic perceptions of democracy differ from Western notions. The author also provides a clear definition of Muslim fundamentalism.
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The review of this Book prepared by Jennifer Martin-Romme

Chapter Analysis of Islam: A Short History

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Kind Of History

Time of history:    -   1000-1600 AD    -   0-1000 AD History of a people?    -   Yes History of religion?    -   Yes Nationality?    -   Arabia Religion?    -   Muslims!

Subjects of this Historical Account

Religion? (if plays a major part)    -   Muslims! Ethnicity (if plays a major part)    -   Arabic Is the portrayal sympathetic?    -   Sympathetic From a certain profession/group?    -   religious leaders Intelligence of subject of history:    -   Smart


Middle East?    -   Yes If applicable, liberal/conservative?    -   Historian is moderately liberal

Writing Style

How much gore?    -   3 () How fast-paced is the book?    -   5 () Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Book makes you feel...    -   concerned How much focus on stories of individuals?    -   Focuses mostly on the people/nation level How much romance?    -   1 () Minor characters feature lots of:    -   farmers Is this a kid's book?    -   Ages 16-Adult Pictures/Illustrations?    -   A handful Maps necessary?    -   Necessary maps provided Length of book    -   150-200 pages How much emphasis on small details?    -   2 ()

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Karen Armstrong Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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