Summary

Scholars, journalists, and politicians uphold Muslim-ruled medieval Spain - "al-Andalus" - as a multicultural paradise, a place where Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived in harmony.
There is only one problem with this widely accepted account: It is a myth.
In this groundbreaking book, Northwestern University scholar Darío Fernández-Morera tells the full story of Islamic Spain. The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise shines light on hidden features of this medieval culture by drawing on an abundance of primary sources that scholars have ignored, as well as archaeological evidence only recently unearthed.
As professors, politicians, and pundits continue to celebrate Islamic Spain for its "multiculturalism" and "diversity", Fernández-Morera sets the record straight - showing that a politically useful myth is a myth nonetheless.
©2016 Darío Fernández-Morera (P)2016 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mark on 30-09-16

An inconvenient truth

Full of information and enjoyable narrative. A must for those who have hunger for truth over fairy tales.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Alex on 10-07-17

A harrowing account of Islamic Spain

Andalus is often cited as an example of Islamic tolerance and enlightenment. The politically correct academics who make such statements tend to overlook Berber dynasties, if they are aware of these groups at all. This book provides a reconsideration of the earlier, relatively milder period as well. The possibility of being branded a racist for presenting inconvenient facts about a religion, or of loss of funding for Middle Eastern Studies departments (much of which comes from repressive Middle Eastern regimes), have often prevented a truly honest and balanced look at Islamic Spain.

Each chapter provides a thematic examination of a different subject, from Jihad to women's rights and the treatment of religious minorities. The parade of horrors is not for the faint of heart. We hear of the widespread use of infidel women as sex slaves, some girls as young as 11 years. Based on strong primary source evidence, the author argues that there is at least the strong possibility that female genital mutilation was practiced among the Muslims of Spain. Religious minorities were humiliated and taxed at higher rates, but at least they were allowed to exist initially.

Because the book argues against conventional wisdom, it can't make claims like "Islamic Spain was a beacon of tolerance" without backing them up. So for each claim, a lot of evidence and different examples are cited. This may be tiresome for some people. While an honest look at the evidence in this book would lead to most of the author's claims being accepted, it is most likely that the politically correct establishment will simply ignore it, because it goes against their narrative.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 20-11-16

Courageous book

The reader was superlative. And I've heard a lot if audio books. And the book is an act of intellectual courage.

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11 of 13 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Nicholas on 14-11-16

Authoritative

Absolutely dripping with concrete, reliable and unapologetic facts that shed needed attention to Islamic Spain. Dario gives no quarters as he unveils the numerous a-historic "scholar's" views and statements around the topic going from the 8-15th century that either mislead or deliberately lie on behalf of the Muslim rulers or shame the Christian victims.

So refreshing to not be force feed lies! Recommend highly!

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14 of 18 people found this review helpful

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