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Editorial Reviews


     Emmet Scott’s Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy is not only a fascinating study but an important book, which, I believe, will eventually lead to a paradigm shift - a change in the way we look at the history of Late Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period, and how we answer the question, “What ended Roman civilization and brought about the Dark Ages?”

     It is a riveting tale - a history of ideas that does much to illuminate current concerns. Scott takes as his starting point the thesis of the Belgian historian Henri Pirenne [1862-1935] that the real destroyers of classical civilization were the Muslims. Scott refines, corrects and augments Pirenne’s insight, and he does so by taking into account two essential disciplines often neglected in studies of this period - archaeology and Islamology. As Scott points out, very few historians paid any attention to the nature of Islam or its beliefs - they simply assumed that Islam was and is a faith no different from others. As for the former element: Scott argues correctly that the written records cannot be taken at their face value, and must be supported by archaeology.

     I shall not spoil the fun by revealing what his conclusions are, but they are arrived at after an exhilarating intellectual ride through the history and archaeology of Byzantium, the Roman presence in the West, Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and much, much more.

      --  IBN WARRAQ author of Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy

     Conventional scholarly wisdom has held that German conquest ended Roman civilization and brought on the Dark Ages. Henri Pirenne strongly disagreed. Almost a hundred years ago, he argued that starting in the seventh century, Islam was a destructive, indeed a catastrophic, force that caused Europe’s Dark Ages. Most European historians have disagreed, claiming that Islam was a tolerant, enlightened force that began to raise Europe out of its darkness.  The myth of a so-called Islamic “Golden Age” in Spain is an expression of that view. Scott defends and enlarges upon Pirenne’s thesis, arguing that these historians have paid scant “attention to the nature of Islam or its beliefs.” Like much of our media and government officials, they assume that Islam is a religion like any other. Scott argues that, with its doctrine of never-ending “holy war” against all non-believers, Islam was “an unprecedentedly destabilizing influence.”

     As with all good history, by reading Scott’s well-written, richly-detailed account of the perils that almost destroyed Western civilization in an earlier age, we are informed of the danger that confronts our civilization in our time. This book is a must-read for any person concerned with the future of Western civilization in our times.

     -- Richard L. Rubenstein, author of Jihad and Genocide

--New English Review

A number of books published in recent years have demolished the myth of an allegedly tolerant Islamic culture that preserved the Greco-Roman heritage. Ibn Warraq s book Why the West Is Best is among the better and more accessible titles in this field. As I concluded in one of my earlier essays, the only part of the ancient Greek heritage that proved to be more compatible with Muslim than with Christian European culture was slavery, and possibly anal sex with young boys in certain parts of the Islamic world.

In early 2012 the historian Emmet Scott published Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy --Front Page Magazine

If you are on a limited budget or have limited time and can only read one book this year, Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited is the one to buy. And a purchase will most likely be necessary, since it will be unavailable in most libraries, what with the hot breath of CAIR and MCB and all the other surrogates of the Muslim Brotherhood breathing down librarians’ necks.

For more than a thousand years Europe and the European diaspora have struggled to cope with the enormity of the devastation inflicted on us by the Islamic invasions. Our collective memory has attempted — and failed — to retain an accurate idea of what actually happened to us.

In earlier centuries our ability to understand was limited by the inadequacy of communication over vast distances and times. Later, during the European ascendancy, it was difficult to comprehend how much damage could be inflicted by such a primitive and barbaric culture.

By the time the European colossus stood astride the globe in the nineteenth century, Islam was a trivial retrograde rabble that deserved no respect and even less attention. How could it have come within a hair’s breadth of smothering European civilization in its cradle?

The truth of what Islam did — and continues to do — to Western Civilization has finally been reconstructed. Like an accomplished forensic detective, Emmet Scott has assembled all the pieces of evidence and built an airtight case against Islam.

The only verdict possible is “Guilty!”

In the days and months to come the airwaves and the internet will be flooded with ads for books about Barack Hussein Obama, or Mitt Romney, or the meltdown of the euro. Resist their blandishments. Forego just one of those transient and evanescent books.

Instead, read Emmet Scott’s magnum opus. This one is for the ages.

After you finish >Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited, your understanding of and reverence for our precious civilization will be fundamentally reorganized. This book is truly artful because it changes the way you see.

---Baron Bodissey --Gates of Vienna

About the Author

Emmet Scott is a historian specializing in the ancient history of the Near East. Over the past ten years he has turned his attention to Late Antiquity and the declining phase of classical civilization, which he sees as one of the most crucial episodes in the history of western civilization.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: New English Review Press; First edition (January 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0578094185
  • ISBN-13: 978-0578094182
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #401,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Robert A. Hall on March 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read and recommended Bryan Ward-Perkins The Fall of Rome, I was most interested to read this book, which takes aim on Ward-Perkins. While I recommend both, this controversial update of Henri Pirenne's theory that it was the rise of Islam that destroyed classical civilization in Europe is in my view the most important and on the mark. I confess that there were tedious bits for the non-academic at the start, but stay with them, as they are a necessary foundation to the riveting final four chapters, the conclusion and the epilogue, which are must-reads for those who want to understand today's world and the millennium-old clash between western civilization and Islam. Basically, Scott lays out a solid case that it was the closure of Mediterranean trade route by Muslim raiders, and the destruction of the lowland, coastal agricultural system that supported advanced economies, as the peoples in the south of Europe had to retreat to defended hill top towns to escapes the attentions of Islamic slave raiders that provided the death knell for classical civilization.

Some telling quotes from the book, which bring to mind our present world: "Aside from the aristocrats themselves, there were armies of bureaucrats and courtiers surrounding the (Roman) Emperor, huge numbers of soldiers, and a vast number of unemployed plebeians, who had to be supported by a social security system, which the Roman's named the "dole." ... With the decline of the city as a political power, the great majority of this population would naturally have disappeared. (PP. 80-81). (Be carefully what you wish for, OWS!)

"Under the protective shield of Rome, the farmers, artisans, and intellectuals...had grown to despise the calling of the soldier, and to see the defense of the country as someone else's business. ...
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93 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Steven Zoraster on January 8, 2012
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Scott argues that the collapse of Latin-Greek civilization in Western Europe happened not in the 5th century during the migrations of the Goths, Vandals and other Germanic peoples, but was delayed until the 7th century.

Among other evidence of continuity after the fall of Rome, Scott writes the the barbarian kings issued coins with the face of the Eastern Roman Emperor on them until about 640AD. He also shows that learning, long distance trade, building, intensive agriculture, and other facets of Latin-Greek culture continued until about that date.

Archeologist cited in the book have found serious soil erosion only after that same 640 date. This is true not only for all of Western Europe but also for North Africa and much of the Middle East.

So, what happened in the Mediterranean world about that time? The Arab-Islamic conquests. Which effectively forced trade across the Mediterranean to be given up, the abandonment of coastal agriculture, and the building of the first castles near the sea. The pirate raids and looting carried out by the Arabs destroyed Roman civilization, not those Germans, who only wanted to benefit from the culture they took over.

There is other evidence on the state of early Islam that counters the standard model of the first Islamic civilizations being good, and post-fall-of-Rome civilization in the west being bad. That is the failure of archeologists to find any evidence of large cities in early Islamic lands. No massive ruins in 8th or 9th century Baghdad or Cordoba, supposedly centers of large, prosperous Islamic civilizations, with beautiful palaces and Mosques. I found this very surprising and evidence that clinched the author's arguments.

A very well argued book that attacks several recent books on the fall of Rome and the benefits of Islamic culture.

And then at the end of the book, Scott goes off on a tangent suggesting...

Well, read the book.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Prometheus I on June 8, 2012
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Premise of book is that the fall of Rome did not cause the "Dark Ages". Barbarians had been moving into Rome and Roman territory for years. The barbarians adopted Roman civil norms, albeit in a somewhat impoverished form, and the Roman Empire continued on, more or less, with new management, so to speak. There was actually quite a bit of prosperity and lots of trade with the East via the Mediterranean Sea. Upper class had lots of luxury items that were imported. The "Dark Ages" did not start until the rapid Muslim conquest of North Africa, Southeast Europe, and the Eastern Mediterranean area, not to mention Spain and parts of Southern Italy. People fled the coastline and retreated to fortified castle towns to avoid death, destruction, pillaging and conscription into slavery. Trade with the East was cutoff. Population plummeted. Things sucked for 1000 years, more or less until Spain was liberated and the Muslim invasion was halted at the gates of Vienna.

This is apparently a controversial theory, but seems absolutely plausible and likely. Tons of archaeological data in the book to support his thesis. Great book if you want some balance to the PC, "religion of peace" mantra that we have to tolerate constantly.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By John Zmirak on April 17, 2012
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This worthy contribution to the understanding of Western history is fascinating reading for those who enjoy detailed historical inquiry. It revives the debate over how (and whether) Islam contributed to Mediterranean culture, and even points out how some of the intolerant elements in medieval Christianity appear to be derivative responses to (or imitations of) Islamic practices. This book deserves to join the canonical scholarly literature on the early middle ages.
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