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.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
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.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Anthony M on 25-12-16
An important book with relevance for now
Referencing a vast collection of Muslim, Christian and Jewish sources past and present the author clarifies Islam as an ideology of conquest whose ultimate expression in armed Jihad and goal quite literally world domination expressed explicitly in the Quran and numerous Hadith. Contrary to fashionable whimsical contemporary academic analysis the Muslim conquest of Spain.and its subsequent rule was brutal and uncompromising designed foremost to uphold the supremacy of Arab Muslims over its conquered subjects, prevent them "contaminating" Islam and extort from them protection money in the form of special taxes - all practices mandated by the Quran and upheld by Islam to this day.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Amazon Customer on 20-11-16
The reader was superlative. And I've heard a lot if audio books. And the book is an act of intellectual courage.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful
By LadyLindi on 29-05-17
Too Little Content and a Bit Polemic
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Not really. It's not that the book didn't have some useful content - it's just that it could have been said in 25-50 pages. The books was also too polemic for my comfort - I do actually agree with his view of Andalusia (for the same reasons, most of which I already knew) but I am distrustful of books out to prove a premise, even if the premise is correct. I understand he was writing to show why current academia is wrong on this, but I still prefer a truth seeking book, not an "I'm going to prove you wrong" presentation. Although I wouldn't call this an anti-Muslim book, it will be interpreted as such because of the way it is written, since we are in a time and culture where consigning everything Islamic to hell on earth is common.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful