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Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes (2009)

by Tamim Ansary

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1,0283620,163 (4.19)44
Until about 1800, the West and the Islamic realm were like two adjacent, parallel universes, each assuming itself to be the center of the world while ignoring the other. As Europeans colonized the globe, the two world histories intersected and the Western narrative drove the other one under. The West hardly noticed, but the Islamic world found the encounter profoundly disrupting. This book reveals the parallel "other" narrative of world history to help us make sense of today's world conflicts. Ansary traces the history of the Muslim world from pre-Mohammedan days through 9/11, introducing people, events, empires, legends, and religious disputes, both in terms of what happened and how it was understood and interpreted.… (more)
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» See also 44 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
For student
  qandeelasghar | Sep 10, 2022 |
This book should be required reading in American high school world history classes. It presents a very different perspective on world history from the perspective of a culture and religion alien to most Americans. It does not just provide a view of Islamic history, but also of European and American history from another vantage point. ( )
  VickyK61 | Jun 23, 2022 |
I loved this book.

I am not sure how a history book should be. Was this superficial cause it skimmed trough so many centuries without listing all birth dates of all rulers? Or was it a deep analysis of an entire people through the ages? I really don't know enough to judge.

For me it is the best history book I read.


And I enjoyed it read out loud by Evie.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lenntt.evoicereader
A great book deserves a great voice. ( )
  Faltiska | Apr 30, 2022 |
An absolute must read for anyone interested a measured look at world history. Provides a much needed view point from the 'middle world' and of the middle kingdoms that receive such short shrift in western history's. History through an Islamic lens and truly a revelation. ( )
  skid0612 | Feb 16, 2022 |
I came to Destiny Disrupted through the large number of positive reviews hoping to get a good sweep of Islamic history, especially Medieval Islamic History. The author admits to not being a professional historian in the introduction and it shows: he often puts himself into the story, his lens of focus on different parts of history is not even, he's often biased, and he drops and loses interest in large swaths of Islamic history in places not Persia. His section on the rise of the Umayyids in Spain is especially spotty.

The reason this book gets one star is the opening to the chapter on the Crusades and the Mongols. He starts off with a multi-page ranting chain of ignorance. According to the author, in 1100 AD the entire peninsula of Italy was still in smoking ruins overrun with Germanic barbarians (incorrect), no Europeans outside of Byzantium had made it to the East (incorrect, esp with Vikings), and the major advances in agriculture like crop rotation and the horse collar are "minor innovations of no note." No one bothered with Europe not because Byzantium was a huge walled city on a choke point armed with Greek Fire or that the Moors were beaten back by the Franks, but because there was "no one worth trading with."

I find I am fine with calling the Crusades what they are -- enormously ignorant campaigns of extreme hubris. I'm fine with the opinion that the Europeans were unwashed barbarians. But be very careful going into territory where ignorance on a subject shows through because after running into page after page of factually incorrect information, I could not reliably believe anything else I read in the book. It was invalidated.

Entertaining read but there are much better histories on the Middle East. Unless looking for an opinionated piece on the history of the world from one man's perspective, this one is a miss.

( )
  multiplexer | Jun 20, 2021 |
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Until about 1800, the West and the Islamic realm were like two adjacent, parallel universes, each assuming itself to be the center of the world while ignoring the other. As Europeans colonized the globe, the two world histories intersected and the Western narrative drove the other one under. The West hardly noticed, but the Islamic world found the encounter profoundly disrupting. This book reveals the parallel "other" narrative of world history to help us make sense of today's world conflicts. Ansary traces the history of the Muslim world from pre-Mohammedan days through 9/11, introducing people, events, empires, legends, and religious disputes, both in terms of what happened and how it was understood and interpreted.

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