Get started in Islamic History

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Lots of people ask me where to start when reading Islamic history. While I am not a specialist, I have found these books to be good resources. They range from the simple to the voluminous. Enjoy.

  • 1


    The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Islamic World (Cambridge Illustrated Histories)
    by Francis Robinson

    Recommended to me by Talha Ahsan @TalhaAhsanEsq, this book gives a balanced view of the Muslim world, one that is not monolithic and has been engaging with its neighbors throughout history.

  • 2


    Islam: A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles)
    by Karen Armstrong

    Armstrong's book is a short, concise read that covers the chronology of Islam from the life of the Prophet down to the modern period. Written in an accessible manner, its a quick read for anyone seeking to learn more.

  • 3


    A History of Islamic Societies
    by Ira M. Lapidus

    Lapidus' book is a thick tome, but one chock full of information. Quite the step up from the last two, this work "...explores the beginnings and transformations of Islamic civilizations in the Middle East and details Islam's worldwide diffusion."

  • 4


    Islamic Central Asia: An Anthology of Historical Sources
    by Scott C. Levi

    Far from the very myopic view of Islam as a religion particular to the Arab or South Asian world, I include this work recommended to me by my friend Dr. Rodrigo Adem @rodrigo_adem. This book highlights Central Asian history and the massive effect it had on the history of Islam as a whole, from the 7th-century Arab conquests to the 19th-century Russian colonial era and provide new insights into the history and significance of the region.

  • 5


    A History of Islam in America: From the New World to the New World Order
    by Kambiz GhaneaBassiri

    Kambiz' book is included here for you, the reader, to understand how Muslims as a faith group have interacted and lived in the Americas. This book traces the history of Muslims in the United States and their different waves of immigration and conversion across five centuries, through colonial and antebellum America, through world wars and civil rights struggles, to the contemporary era. The definitive work on the topic.

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