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Leo Africanus Paperback – March 25, 1998
The Secret Healer
In the fourteenth century, opportunities for women are limited. But spirited young Madlen can't resist her gift for healing, even if it puts her life in danger. Learn More
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Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
A wonderful aspect of Leo Africanus is the pitfalls it avoided. Amin Maalouf did not attempt to paint a picture that support a certain vision of history or advances a certain agenda. This is a common theme in modern day work on history and especially historical fiction. The one agenda that Amin Maalouf may have had in mind and advanced beautifully is that the world is full of wonderful people; they come in different religions, different colors and different ethnicity and they speak different languages. The world is also full of many awful people from different religions, cultures and colors.
Reading Leo Africanus one feels a direct witness to the fall of Andalusia to the Spanish and its aftermath, the fall of Cairo to the Ottomans and its aftermath and the fall of Rome to the Lutherans. Globalization and the "global village" and easy travel may have made the world smaller in our time, for Hassan Al Wazan too, nearly 600 years ago traveling the globe and fitting in was a way of life.
Exceptional historical and cultural education, beautifully written and well translated.
It reads like a history lesson, a travel essay, and a novel wrapped up into one. I suggest it to anyone planning or completing a trip to Southern Spain or Northern Africa. Hearing the Alhambra Palace described as a place of life, commerce and government instead of ruin was a treat. Being able to visualize the rooms, fountains and greenery with each line in the book was even better.
Leo the African had a fantastic life and Amin Maalouf has written a fantastic story around it. His style is effortless and the descriptions of sixteenth century Middle East are teasing enough to get you looking at the maps and travel guides again. You'll love this book. I did, and I'd recommend everyone with wanderlust to read it.
The story takes place in 15th century Europe, where Hasan lives among Arabs, Jews and Christians.
The story is told with great humility, by an old man, Hasan, reflecting about the forty years he had lived in four cities around the Mediterranean: Granada, where he was born, Fez, where he faces misfortune, Cairo, where he recovers and finally Rome, where he meets the Pope.
Amin Maalouf is a gifted writer. Words fail me when I try to evaluate a book that needs no praising. No amount of flattery would make it any more pleasing to read. I still feel the same excitement every time I read it.
It was a great story, written with a scholarly flair that would please even the most demanding academician. This is proof that you don't need to be an intellectual to enjoy first class literature.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Difficult to describe Leo's story in the usual terms attached to modern novels. It is historical fiction whose real life hero is an amazing Muslim of the 15th-16th century. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Shopper1844
This is an excellent historical novel Leo was an actual person so there is much to learn from this work about European relationships with Islam. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Charlie Steen
Exciting and thoughtful, historically putting a face and story that has formed ripples in time.Published 18 months ago by Gayle
I am still reading this book an enjoying it thoroughly. I went to a lecture on understanding Islam and this was recommended by the Prof.Published 22 months ago by Rochelle Saren
Excelent. But will be nice to have the french version on the kindle system. For people that usually don't read history it is nice when a writter like Amin Maalouf put a pope, a... Read morePublished on May 24, 2014 by Ricardo Madariaga
I read this book for a college class. At times it was hard for me to get into it, but it picked up and I became immersed in the story. I'd recommend this book for sure. Read morePublished on February 9, 2014 by Brandon