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Muslims in America: A Short History (Religion in American Life) Paperback – October 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0195367560 ISBN-10: 0195367561 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Curtis, a religious studies professor and authority on Islam in America, has authored a fine and succinct history that spans centuries. He hits all the major chronological points and historical details of Muslims living in North America, including notable tales of African slaves who maintained their religion despite great hardship. Curtis has literally combed through every record imaginable, including, for example, a 1939 Works Progress Administration–funded interview of Mrs. Mary Juma, a Syrian homesteader in North Dakota, in assembling this very readable history. Unmatched for its breadth of sources, this is also one of the few books in the field to cover both immigrant and indigenous (African-American) American Muslims. One of the strongest sections chronicles American Muslim condemnation of terrorism after 9/11, a condemnation largely unnoticed by the greater American community. Although geared toward non-Muslims, American Muslims would also learn a great deal from reading about their own history. Photographs, chronology, edited selections from chosen narratives, and a Further Reading Section provide useful jumping-off points for the reader, who will undoubtedly be intrigued by Curtis's compelling little read. (Oct.)
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Review

"An accessible, succinct, and informative survey . . . useful, enjoyable, and ultimately engaging. It will be of great value . .  . as a popular work [and] general resource."
--American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences


"[Curtis] has authored a fine and succinct history that spans centuries...Unmatched for its breadth of sources, this is also one of the few books in the field to cover both immigrant and indigenous (African-American) American Muslims...Photographs, chronology, edited selections from chosen narratives, and a Further Reading Section provide useful jumping-off points for the reader, who will undoubtedly be intrigued by Curtis's compelling little read." --Publishers Weekly


"Muslims in America provide[s] an interesting and diverse sampling
of Islamic theological reflection in the United States today." --Foreign Affairs


"This concise account of US Muslims is cohesive and approachable for readers unfamiliar with the subject, does not bog down in protracted explanations of beliefs, practices, and complex historical or political events, yet remains scholarly. The author's use of intimate profiles of individuals and families to illustrate common experiences of the larger group also draws readers in and increases the power of his descriptions...Highly recommended." --Choice Reviews


"Curtis achieves his objective...a model of clarity on the details of the Muslim experience in America." --Wilson Quarterly


"Curtis' book is a refreshing look at an important aspect of American history and culture." --Foreword Magazine


"This book offers a new perspective on the role Muslims have played in America and a deeper perspective on the nature of Islam." --Indianapolis Star


"Gives voice to a population in the United States that traditional history books tend to overlook or unknowingly misrepresent." --Middle East Journal


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Product Details

  • Series: Religion in American Life
  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195367561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195367560
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.6 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Samana Siddiqui on April 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
In the last 10 years, Muslims in the United States have largely been perceived as a foreign, "fifth column" community. For right-wing talk radio hosts, they are convenient cannon fodder. For the mainstream media and politicians, with some exceptions, they are largely the same, an inconvenient community to skirt around.

What is largely unknown is that Muslims have deep roots in the United States. Starting from West African slaves brought here through the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 1700s, to modern-day figures like Malcolm X and W.D. Mohammed, Curtis offers readers a brief, but eye-opening introduction to the history of Muslims in America.

While this slim volume is meant to be, as its subtitle notes, a short history, it is a concise, well-written one. The book is factual, well-researched and presents an inside look at this religious community. By weaving facts with real stories of American Muslims of the past and present, Curtis successfully retains the reader's interest until the end.

He also discusses how other movements have influenced the American Muslim community, ranging from the Ahmadiyya to the Druze and the Nation of Islam.

However, this book should primarily be used as a starting point to learn more about American Muslims. It is not exhaustive or comprehensive. But it whets a reader's appetite enough to want to know more.

Muslims in America: A Short History should be required reading for any "Islam 101" type class in high school or college. It should be on the bookshelf of every library in the United States and on the desk of every AM radio talk show host.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By F. A. Chishty on February 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
The author of this book, Edward E. Curtis IV, Millennium Chair of the Liberal Arts and Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), has dedicated his recent academic study and research to Muslim Americans; this is substantiated by his editing of the Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States (Columbia University Press, 2009), the Encyclopedia of Muslim-Americans in History (Facts on File, 2010), his studies in African-Americans and religion, and the current book under review. To compose a short history of any topic entails on the part of the author the challenging task of selection and at times to generalize, but Curtis appears to grapple with both of these challenges admirably; he includes all the significant personalities and particular issues faced by Muslim Americans at various points in history with little to no editorializing, unless it is to provide context. Curtis's Muslim in America: A Short History (Oxford University Press, 2009) provides a brief synopsis of an important minority of Americans with deep historical ties to their land since the 16th century up and through the tragic events of 9/11.

Muslim Americans, whether as explorers as Estevanico; slaves who transcribed the Koran by heart like Job Ben Solomon; converts, like Alexander Russell Webb, a U.S.
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Format: Paperback
A very brief history of Muslims in America. There was a lot of detail about the lives of specific Muslim slaves brought to America from West Africa, but as the author moved forward in time, there were fewer and fewer details. I guess I was hoping for a more comprehensive look at the more recent history. Never-the-less, this was a good overview for a non-Muslim reader.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is really a short solid history about Islam in this country. If more people read books like this they would understand Islam has been woven into the fabric of this country. From our fathers, two of them owned, read their Holy Qurans. To the slaves and free men who bought Islam to our shores. A very diverse peaceful religion with people from every race.
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Excellent summary statement about followers of this major religion as they made their home in the United States. Well done and highly readable.
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