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Useful Enemies

Islam and The Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450-1750

Noel Malcolm



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Oxford University Press
01 May 2019
From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, writers in Western Europe gave a huge amount of thought to the Ottoman Empire. This was not just because it was a military threat, but because it had a social and political system that was fascinatingly different from their own. As they developed their ideas about it - and about the nature of Islam as a 'political' religion - their arguments became intertwined with many internal Western debates about power, religion, society, and war. Useful Enemies is the first-ever book to trace all these lines of argument during those three vital centuries in the development of Western political thought.
By:   Noel Malcolm
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 237mm,  Width: 162mm,  Spine: 43mm
Weight:   750g
ISBN:   9780198830139
ISBN 10:   0198830130
Pages:   512
Publication Date:   01 May 2019
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Noel Malcolm read History and English Literature at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and was a research student at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he wrote his doctoral thesis on Thomas Hobbes. He began his career as Fellow of Gonville and Caius Colleege, Cambridge; he was then political columnist and, subsequently, Foreign Editor of the Spectator, and then chief political columnist of the Daily Telegraph. He gave the Carlyle Lectures at Oxford in 2001 and, since 2002, he has been a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse, Trinity, and Gonville and Caius. He has published books and articles on, among other subjects, early modern philosophy (with a particular emphasis on Hobbes), and the history and culture of the Balkans, especially during the Ottoman period. He was knighted in 2014 for services to scholarship, journalism, and European history.

Reviews for Useful Enemies: Islam and The Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450-1750

An indispensable guide to that encounter that combines deep learning, refined historical judgment, and an elegant authorial voice. Malcolm describes his book as a study of Western political thinking about Islam and the Ottoman Empire in the early modern period, roughly 1450 to 1750. But the book offers much more than that. * James Hankins, New Criterion * [A] richly research and commendably lucid new book ... As with all Malcolm's work, the power of the underlying scholarship in Useful Enemies - the archives visited, the languages mastered - is deeply impressive. Perhaps still more impressive, however, is the way Malcolm has organised and shaped his material into a subtle, many-faceted exposition that is always clear and never feels forced or sophisticated... * David Womersely, Standpoint * Learned and fascinating account... * Sameer Rahim, Prospect Magazine * Noel Malcolm's brilliant study ... a wealth of scholarship drawing on primary sources in many languages ... The book's importance is thus not only to do with its nuanced account of the varieties of western European responses to Islam - though this is valuable enough... * Rowan Williams, New Statesman * [A] wise and beautifully judged book... * Christopher de Bellaigue, The Guardian * A timely look at how the perceived threat of Islam shaped early modern Europe... This is a potentially polarising topic, ripe for ill-informed claims and tendentious commentary. Malcolm is one of the handful of people capable of taking it on with scholarly rigour and clarity... Anyone who wants to understand how we got to where we are today should read this book. * Tim Laing Smith, The Daily Telegraph * The author is one of the great scholars of our time ... Malcolm has here uncovered an entirely new field of inquiry, ranging from Machiavelli to Montesquieu, and embracing many less familiar but fascinating thinkers en route... * Daniel Johnson, Mosaic, Best Books of 2019 * Noel Malcolm has provided a masterpiece in the history of ideas... * Ritchie Robertson, The Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year 2019 *

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