New books in History

SaladinNEW May 2014


by Anne-Marie Eddé

(Harvard University Press; 704 pages; May 2014).

Unlike biographies that focus on Saladin’s military exploits, especially the recapturing of Jerusalem from European Crusaders in 1187, Anne-Marie Eddé’s narrative draws on an incredible array of contemporary sources to develop the fullest picture possible of a ruler shaped profoundly by the complex Arabian political environment in which he rose to prominence. The result is a unique view of the Crusades from an Arab perspective.

The 2011 Libyan Uprisings and the Struggle for the Post-Qadhafi Future edited by 2011 Libyan UprisingsJason Pack (Palgrave Macmillan; 276 pages; June 2013). A work of contemporary political history, this volume analyzes the 2011 Libyan uprisings thematically – focusing on the roles of economics, outside actors, tribes, ethnic minorities, and Islamists.

The Abolition of Slavery in Ottoman Tunisia by Ismael Montana (University Press of Florida; 238 pages; $75 cloth). In this groundbreaking work, Ismael Montana fully explicates the complexity of Tunisian society and culture and reveals how abolition was able to occur in an environment hostile to such change.

The Aga Khan Case: Religion and Identity in Colonial India by Teena Purohit (Harvard University Press; 183 pages; $45). Discusses a court case in 1860s Bombay involving the Khojas, a group that kept both Hindi and Muslim practices and refused to pay tithes to the Ismaili Muslim leader, the Aga Khan.

Ashraf into Middle Classes: Muslims in Nineteenth-century Delhi by Margrit Pernau (Oxford University Press; 544 pages; August 2013). Treating identities as inherently dynamic and ever changing, Pernau argues that religious identity became central for Muslims only in the last third of the nineteenth century, and this was closely linked with the creation of a middle class whose members described themselves as ashraf, or “men from a good family.”

Bay of BengalNEW October 2013 Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants by Sunil S. Amrith (Harvard University Press; 368 pages; Oct. 2013). Amrith’s evocative and compelling narrative of the region’s pasts offers insights critical to understanding and confronting the many challenges facing Asia in the decades ahead.

Defining Boundaries in al-Andalus: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Islamic Iberia by Janina M. Safran (Cornell Press; 272 pages; March 2013).  Janina M. Safran takes a close look at the structure and practice of Muslim political and legal-religious authority and offers a rare look at intercommunal life in Iberia during the first three centuries of Islamic rule.

Europe and the Islamic World by John Tolan, Henry Laurens, and Gilles Veinstein (Princeton University Press; 528 pages; $39.50). Three eminent historians bring to life the complex and tumultuous relations between Genoans and Tunisians, Alexandrians and the people of Constantinople, Catalans and Maghrebis–the myriad groups and individuals whose stories reflect the common cultural, intellectual, and religious heritage of Europe and Islam.

From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia by Pankaj Mishra (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 356 pages; $27). Focuses on Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1838-97) and Liang Qichao (1873-1929) in a study of intellectuals who shaped Asian modernity.book_ibnkhaldun

Henry Stubbe and the Beginnings of Islam: The Originall & Progress of Mahometanism Edited by Nabil Matar (Columbia University Press, Dec. 2013; 288 pages; $50). Henry Stubbe (1632–1676) was an extraordinary English scholar who challenged his contemporaries by writing about Islam as a monotheistic revelation in continuity with Judaism and Christianity. Nabil Matar standardizes Stubbe’s text and situates it within England’s theological and intellectual climate in the 17th century. He shows how, to draw a historical portrait of Muhammad, Stubbe embraced travelogues, Latin commentaries, studies on Jewish customs and Scripture, and Arabic chronicles, many written by medieval Christian Arabs who had lived in the midst of the Islamic polity.

Holy City on the Nile: Omduran during the Maddiya by Robert Kramer (Markus Weiner; 214 pages; $89.95). Narrates the conquest of the Mahdist capital Omduran between 1885 and the Anglo-Egyptian conquest of 1898.

Ibn Khaldun by Syed Farid Alatas (Oxford University Press; 160 pages; August 2013). Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) was one of the most remarkable Muslim scholars of the pre-modern period. Alatas provides an extendemalcolm xd discussion of Ibn Khaldun’s views on education and knowledge, and on society. He recounts the reception of Ibn Khaldun in his own time and in the modern period, in the Islamic world and in the West.
NEW October 2013 The Iconography of Malcolm X by Graeme Abernethy (University of Kansas Press; 328 pages; $35; Oct. 2013) Abernethy captures both the multiplicity and global import of a person who has been framed as both villain and hero, cast by mainstream media during his lifetime as “the most feared man in American history,” and elevated at his death as a heroic emblem of African American identity.
InquisitionInquisition in Early Islam: The Competition for Political and Religious Authority in the Abbasid Empire by John P. Turner (I.B. Tauris; 256 pages; May 2013). By examining the definition of ‘heresy’, Turner presents a vivid account of the heresy trials under the Abbasid Caliph from 833 to 848 CE, as well as incisive analysis concerning the relationship between secular power and religious authority.

Islamic Reform and Arab Nationalism: Expanding the Crescent from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean (1880′s – 1930′s) by Aman Ghazal (Routledge; 178 pages; $130). Ghazal examines Ibadism and its demise following the rise of Arab nationalism and pan-Islamism.

The Krio of West Africa: Islam, Culture, Creolization, and Colonialism in the Nineteenth Century by Gibril R. Cole (Ohio University Press; 280 pages; $32.95). Discusses freed slaves and their descendants who settled Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Lebanese Salafis Between the Gulf and Europe: Development, Fractionalization, and Transnational Networks of Salafism in Lebanon by Zoltan Pall (Amsterdam University Press, distributed by University of Chicago Press; 116 pages; August 2013). Draws on fieldwork in Tripoli in a study of the rise of Salafist networks among Sunni Muslims in Lebanon and their reach to Salafis in the Gulf and Europe.

The Longest Journey: Southeast Asians and the Pilgrimage to Mecca by Eric Tagliocozzo (Oxford; 368 pages; April 2013). Spanning eleven modern nation-states and seven centuries, this is the first book to offer a history of the Hajj from one of Islam’s largest and most important regions.

lost enlightenmentNEW October 2013 Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane by S. Frederick Starr (Princeton University Press; 696 pages; Oct. 2013). In this sweeping and richly illustrated history, Starr tells the largely unknown story of Central Asia’s medieval enlightenment through the lives and accomplishments of its greatest minds. Because nearly all of these figures wrote in Arabic, they were long assumed to have been Arabs. In fact, they were from Central Asia–drawn from the Persianate and Turkic peoples of a region that today extends from Kazakhstan through Afghanistan, and from the easternmost province of Iran through Xinjiang, China.

NEW October 2013 The Maghreb Since 1800 by Knut S. Vikor (Hurst Publications; 356 pages; Oct. 2013). This short history of the Maghreb surveys its development from the coming of Islam to the present day, but with greatest emphasis on the modern period from the early nineteenth century onwards.

Malay Kingship in Kedah: Religion, Trade, and Society by Maziar Mozaffari Falarti (Lexington Books; 224 pages; $75). A study of the northwestern Malaysian sultanate, whose line of kingship has been unbroken for more than 1,000 years.

Medicine and the Saints: Science, Islam, and the Colonial Encounter in Morocco, 1877-1956 by Ellen J. Amster (University medicinesaintsof Texas Press; 350 pages; August 2013). Exploring the colonial encounter between France and Morocco as a process of embodiment, and the Muslim body as the place of resistance to the state, this book provides the first history of medicine, health, disease, and the welfare state in Morocco.

NEW October 2013 Memories of Absence: How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco by Aomar Boum (Stanford University Press; 240 pages; Oct. 2013). Boum combines history and ethnography in a study of how four successive generations remember Morocco’s Jewish community, which by the 1980s had lost 240,000 people to emigration.

Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks by Jenny White (Princeton University Press; 241 pages; $70 hardcover, $24.95 paperback). Traces the rise of a Muslim nationalism that draws on the Ottoman pas rather than the republican tradition.

muslimzionMuslim Zion: Pakistan as a political idea by Faisal Devji (Harvard University Press; 288 pages; Sept. 2013). Muslim Zion cuts to the core of the geopolitical paradoxes entangling Pakistan to argue that India’s rival has never been a nation-state in the conventional sense.

The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran: Tradition, Memory, and Conversion (Cambridge University Press; 304 pages; Sept. 2013). How do converts to a religion come to feel an attachment to it? The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran answers this important question for Iran by focusing on the role of memory and its revision and erasure in the ninth to eleventh centuries.

Oppressed in the Land? Fatwas on Muslims Living under Non-Muslim Rule from the Middle Ages to the Present by postcolonial immigrantsAlan Verskin (Markus Weiner Publishers; 170 pages; Sept. 2012). These documents, which span the fourteenth to the twenty-first centuries, reflect on the experiences of Muslim communities in such places as medieval Christian Spain, India, French Africa, Europe, the United States, and Israel/Palestine.

Post-Colonial Immigrants and Identity Formations in the Netherlands edited by Ulbe Bosma (Amsterdam University Press, distributed by University of Chicago Press; 244 pages; Aug. 2013). Writings on the history of post-colonial migration to the Netherlands, including Dutch repatriated from Indonesia, and Moluccan, Surinamese, and other migrants.

The Religious Elite of the Early Islamic Hijaz: Five Prosoographical Case Studies by Asad Ahmed (Prosopographica et Geneologica; 350 pages; £36). Asad Ahmed plots the marriages of five companions of the Prophet and their descendents during the Umayyad period.

iranRevolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic by Michael Axworthy (Oxford University Press; 528 pages; Sept. 2013). Axworthy guides us through recent Iranian history from shortly before the 1979 Islamic revolution through the summer of 2009, when an outpouring of support for an end to tyranny in Iran paused and then moved on to other areas in the region like Egypt and Libya, leaving Iran’s leadership unchanged.

Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islam by John Calvert (Oxford University Press; 392 pages; Sept. 2013). This book rescues Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) from the popular media’s misrepresentation, tracing the evolution of his thought within the context of his time, and recounting Qutb’s life from a small village to his execution at the behest of Abd al-Nasser’s regime.

Science and Religion: Christian and Muslim Perspectives edited by David Marshall (University of Georgetown Press; 208 pages; $25). The volume includes a selection of relevant texts together with commentary that illuminates the scriptures, the ideas of key religious thinkers, and also the legacy of Charles Darwin.

Siege Warfare and Military Organization in the Successor States (400-800 AD): Byzantium, the West and Islam by Leif Inge Ree Petersen (Brill; 832 pages; Aug. 2013). This is the first study to comprehensively treat an aspect of Byzantine, Western, early Islamic, Slavic and Steppe military history within the framework of common descent from Roman military organization to 800 AD.

Sharia or Shura: Contending Approaches to Muslim Politics in Nigeria and Senegal by Sakah Saidu Mahmud (Lexington Books; 196 pages). This book explores the differences in Muslim attitudes and approaches to the public sphere in sub-Saharan Africa via a comparative-historical analysis of Muslim politics in Northern Nigeria and Senegal since independence in 1960.

book_history ThroneThe Throne of Adulis: Red Sea Wars on the Eve of Islam by G.W. Bowerstock (Oxford; 208 pages; April 2013). The Throne of Adulis vividly recreates the Red Sea world of Late Antiquity, transporting readers back to a remote but pivotal epoch in ancient history, one that sheds light on the collapse of the Persian Empire as well as the rise of Islam.

NEW October 2013 Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an: Islam and the Founders by Denise A. Spellberg (Alfred A. Knopf; 392 pages; Oct. 2013). Documents Jefferson’s extension of religious pluralism to include future Muslim citizens of America.

NEW September 2013 Turko-Mongol Rulers, Cities and City Life edited by David Durand-Guety (Brill; 452 pages; Sept. 2013). What was the attitude of these dynasties towards the many cities they controlled, some of which were of considerable size? This volume brings together specialists in various disciplines and periods, from pre-Chingissid Eurasia to nineteenth-century Iran.

Water on Sand: Environmental Histories of the Middle East and North Africa edited by Alan Mikhail (Oxford University Press; 326 pages; $99 hardcover, $24.95 paperback). Essays on such topics as plague and environment in late Ottoman Egypt, the rise and fall of environmentalism in Lebanon, and the politics of water in the making of Saudi Arabia.