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Islamic Empires: Fifteen Cities that Define a Civilization

Justin Marozzi



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Allen Lane
03 September 2019
History; Middle Eastern history; Early history: c 500 to c 1450&1500; Early modern history: c 1450 to c 1700; Social & cultural history; Islam
The world of Islam has produced some of the greatest cities ever seen. At their zenith they have been highly cultured, cosmopolitan and commercial, rich from exchange with nations across the globe. During their nadir, they have become cultural wastelands- introverted, narrow, frequently cruel and dangerous.

This epic history of the Middle East alights on fifteen cities at key - important, glorious, ascendant, prosperous, ruinous, tragic, violent - moments in the fifteen centuries since the birth of Islam. Ranging from Mecca in the seventh century to the extraordinary emergence of Dubai from an empty desert in the twentieth, the book traces a number of fundamental world-changing themes and how they have unfolded during the evolution of the urban Middle East- religion, cosmopolitanism and relations between the three Abrahamic faiths; trade, tribe and tolerance; cultural innovation and cultural introspection; competition and conflict; nationalism and colonialism; the projection of power and its architectural realization.

As with his acclaimed Baghdad- City of Peace, City of Blood, Justin Marozzi captivatingly combines history with reportage, and places storytelling and incident to the fore.
By:   Justin Marozzi
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 162mm,  Spine: 42mm
Weight:   741g
ISBN:   9780241199046
ISBN 10:   0241199042
Pages:   512
Publication Date:   03 September 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Justin Marozzi is a Trustee of the Royal Geographical Society and a Senior Research Fellow at Buckingham University. A former Financial Times and Economist foreign correspondent, he has spent much of the past two decades living and working in the Middle East. His previous books include South from Barbary- Along the Slave Routes of the Libyan Sahara (2001), the bestselling Tamberlane- Sword of Islam (2004), The Man Who Invented History- Travels with Herodotus (2008) and Baghdad- City of Peace, City of Blood (2014), which won the Ondaatje Prize.

Reviews for Islamic Empires: Fifteen Cities that Define a Civilization

The approach is perfect [and] the balance between telling detail and telling story is spot on. With its fine drawing and mass of minute detail, reading the book is more like poring over the framed miniatures in a manuscript: here a Moghul lolls by a pool, there a Timurid rampages across the page. The prose, too, is beautifully paced, sprightly but never tiring. And the city portraits build up into a panorama of Islamic civilisation as full as any history, and far more entertaining. * The Evening Standard * Marozzi is an outstanding guide to the urban centres he expounds on, partly because of his deep understanding and love for the peoples and places he writes about. . . . The succession of delightful pen portraits of rulers, as well as writers, artists and scholars, makes for a riveting read. This is a fine book that helps recentre our understanding of the past by focusing on cities about which little is known in Europe, in spite of their enduring importance and the role they have played in history. It is a compelling and personal account by an author who knows, cares and has thought deeply about his subject matter. It is a new Hudud al-Alam, the famous 10th-century Persian geography book, for the 21st century - informing, revealing and delighting in some of the parts of the world that everyone should know about. * The Sunday Times *

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