"Tamara Sonn ... is wonderfully clear in explaining some of the ideas and intellectual and spiritual forces that shaped a faith-tradition now shared by one fifth of the human family." BBC History
"Professor Tamara Sonn deserves the gratitude of all those who wish to understand the post-September 11 world in which we find ourselves. In a masterly fashion and with admirable brevity she has presented us with an indispensable guide to understanding Islam in the twenty-first century." Akbar S. Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and Professor of International Relations, American University, Washington.
"Sonn provides a remarkable blending of the study of religion and history, creating a synthesis that is informative for specialist and general reader alike. This book represents a new style of basic books, transcending the old mode of introductory primer." John Voll, Georgetown University
The nature of Islam remains an area of intense and topical interest. In this brief but absorbing volume, Tamara Sonn offers a lively history of Islam, which is accessible without being simplistic. The book divides Islamic history into four periods starting with the life of Muhammad and the birth of Islamic ideals, through Islam's phenomenal geographical expansion and cultural development, right up to the creation of modern states and the current situation in Islamic societies. This accessible structure allows the reader to clearly grasp the fascinating and inter-related cultural, political, and ideological developments of this powerful global force. Throughout the book, representative events, characters and movements have been chosen to highlight the key issues and involve the reader. The book concludes with vignettes of Islamic life that represent current challenges facing Islamic societies. Written by a leading figure in Islamic studies, this lively book offers a brief history of this major world religion.