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The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance by
Call Number: Q127.A5 A4 2011
"Many of the innovations that we think of as hallmarks of Western science had their roots in the Arab world of the middle ages, a period when much of Western Christendom lay in intellectual darkness. Jim al- Khalili, a leading British-Iraqi physicist, resurrects this lost chapter of history, and given current East-West tensions, his book could not be timelier. With transporting detail, al-Khalili places readers in the hothouses of the Arabic Enlightenment, shows how they led to Europe's cultural awakening, and poses the question: Why did the Islamic world enter its own dark age after such a dazzling flowering?"--Book Description
is a leading theoretical nuclear physicist, a trustee of the British Science Association, and a senior advisor to the British Council on science and technology.
In an Antique Land by
Call Number: DT56.2 .G48 1994
"Ghosh, an Indian Hindu, first read about a medieval (12th century) Jew and his Indian slave while a student at Oxford. He became fascinated almost to the point of obsession. After studying Arabic, he enrolled at a university in Alexandria, Egypt to perform further research. A professor found him lodgings in an nearby village. This book recounts his attempt to merge the two stories: life in modern Egyptian villages (not dissimilar to that of 5000 years ago), and his search for the Indian slave. The merger doesn't quite work. Individually, both subjects are fascinating; together they are less so."--Paula M. Zieselman, Library Journal
was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. His writings have won France’s Prix Médicis; India's Sahitya Akademi Award, the Ananda Puraskar, IndiaPlaza Golden Quill Award, and the Crossword Book Prize; the Arthur C. Clarke award. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages. In 2008, his novel, Sea of Poppies
was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Leo Africanus by
Call Number: PQ3979.2.M28 L413 1992
"Written in the form of a memoir, this historical novel explores the meeting of two worlds--Islam and Christendom--through the adventures of real-life Arab traveler and geographer Hassan al-Wazzan. Born in Spain just as the Moors were expelled in 1492, Hassan grows up in North Africa and as a young man crosses the Sahara to Timbuctu, eventually reaching Cairo on the eve of its conquest by the Ottomans. In the last of his sojourns recounted by Maalouf, Hassan arrives in the Rome of Pope Leo X, who christens him Leo Africanus. Chronicling the loves and adventures of his wandering protagonist, the author deftly weaves into Hassan's account a score of the traveler's more famous contemporaries, including Columbus, the Medicis, Martin Luther, and Suleiman the Magnificent."--L.M. Lewis, Library Journal
, is a Lebanese-born French author.
The Ornament of the World by
Call Number: DP99 .M465 2002b
"María Rosa Menocal's ... The Ornament of the World
tells of a time and place--from 786 to 1492, in Andalucía, Spain--that is largely and unjustly overshadowed in most historical chronicles. It was a time when three cultures--Judaic, Islamic, and Christian--forged a relatively stable (though occasionally contentious) coexistence. Such was this period that there remains in Toledo a church with an 'homage to Arabic writing on its walls [and] a sumptuous 14th-century synagogue built to look like Granada's Alhambra.' Long gone, however, is the Córdoba library--a thousand times larger than any other in Christian Europe. Menocal's history is one of palatine cities, of philosophers, of poets whose work inspired Chaucer and Boccaccio, of weeping fountains, breezy courtyards, and a long-running tolerance 'profoundly rooted in the cultivation of the complexities, charms and challenges of contradictions,' which ended with the repression of Judaism and Islam the same year Columbus sailed to the New World." --H. O'Billovich.
María Rosa Menocal
(1953-2012) was a Cuban-born scholar of medieval culture and history and Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University.
When Asia Was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks Who Created the “Riches of the East” by
Call Number: DS5.95 .G67 2009
"Gordon... recalls Thomas Cahill's 'Hinges of History' series in this accessible history-in-portraits. Covering 'the thousand years from 500 to 1500, when Asia was an astonishing, connected, and creative place,' Gordon bases each chapter on the actual memoir of someone who lived, worked and traveled there. Each story has its own unique appeal,... It's a rare joy-and a slight shock-to find such rich evidence of lives lived 1,000 years ago; given the way time erases personal history, however, it makes sense that each man's story feels incomplete."--Publishers Weekly
is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan.
Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo
About This Theme
…Explore this theme of ‘connected histories,’ a new way of understanding the past in which Islam and the West, far from being locked in an endless ‘clash of civilizations,’ are seen instead as products of this cosmopolitan and inextricably intertwined history. By highlighting the intellectual inheritance shared by Islam and the West, their mutual bonds of monotheism, and the surprising intensity of their cultural and commercial interaction, as well as the individual experiences of the many merchants, missionaries, and other adventurers who journeyed ‘to the other shore,’ these books all chart a path to a new vision of the world of our ancestors, a world that was as remarkably complex and dynamically interconnected as the one we live in today."
Connected Histories was developed by Giancarlo Casale, who holds a PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, and is currently associate professor of the history of the Islamic World at the University of Minnesota.