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One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Ten Centuries of Travelers Writing About the Muslim Pilgrimage Hardcover – June, 1997

5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A journey to Mecca, the Hajj, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, an undertaking that every Muslim should attempt at least once in his or her life. By leaving their homes and possessions and taking to the road to travel to the birthplace of Islam, Muslims are reminded that all humans are equal before God. It's no wonder, then, that the Hajj has been a central theme of Islamic travel-writing since the 7th century, A.D.

One Thousand Roads to Mecca is a collection of more than 20 accounts of the Hajj spanning ten centuries. The writers collected in this anthology reflect the geographic diversity of Islam. These pilgrims come from all over the world: Morocco, India, Persia, England, Italy, and the United States. They travel by boat and camel, on foot and horseback and, most recently, by airplane; many suffered all the hardships and dangers attached to a long pilgrimage of months or even years through deserts and over mountains, across lands populated by brigands and thieves. But along with the hazards are descriptions of of Cairo and Damascus at the height of their glory during the medieval period and anecdotes and observations that render the cosmopolitan nature of the pilgrims. In addition to the writings of Muslim pilgrims, there are also several accounts by non-Muslim westerners who, by hook or by crook, gained access to the forbidden city of Mecca and then wrote about it. One Thousand Roads to Mecca is both classic travel literature at its best and a wonderful introduction to the tenets and practices of a frequently misunderstood religion.

From Library Journal

An American convert to Islam, Wolfe (The Hadj: An American's Pilgrimage to Mecca, LJ 8/93) has collected excerpts from the accounts of two dozen pilgrims to Mecca over a span of 1000 years. Islam is the only world religion that requires its followers, if they are able, to undertake a pilgrimage at least once. Through detachment from his or her environment and travel to the birthplace of Islam, and through the subsuming of race and class during the ceremonies, the Muslim experiences a sense of the unity of all humanity and a sense of religious commonality and personal humility before God. Wolfe does an exemplary job of detailing the ceremonies performed at Mecca and the reasons behind them. The chosen excerpts give readers a sense of how the hajj has changed over time as well as how constant the central ceremonies have remained. Works like this help both the student and the general reader gain a better understanding of this remarkable faith. Highly recommended for academic and large public libraries.?Robert J. Andrews, Duluth P.L., Minn.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 620 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Pr; 1st edition (June 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802116116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802116116
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,312,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Wolfe was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, educated at Wesleyan University (Classics, 1968), and lives in Northern California. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, fiction, and travel. He has been a fellow at Bread Loaf Writers Conference and a guest at the MacDowell Colony. He held the Amy Lowell Traveling Poets Scholarship for three years while living in North and West Africa. In the 1970s and 1980s he owned and ran a bookstore and a book bindery and edited and published Tombouctou Books, Bolinas, CA, including titles by Paul Bowles, Mohammed Mrabet, Larbi Layachi, Jim Carroll, Dale Herd, Steve Emerson, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Lucia Berlin, Bill Berkson, Duncan McNaughton, Clark Coolidge, and many others.

In 1990, he made the pilgrimage to Mecca and subsequently wrote two books on the subject.

He is currently Co-Executive Producer and President of Unity Productions Foundation, a nonprofit media company that produces documentary films for television.

For more information see Wikipedia and Who's Who in America, 60th Education.
Authors Guild website: www.michaelwolfe.net

Publication History

Cut These Words into My Stone: Ancient Greek Epitaphs in Translations. 160 pages, Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2013.
Greek to Me. Verse. Blue Press. 2012
Paradise: Reading Notes. Verse. Blue Press, 2010.
Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim their Faith. Essays. 120 pages, Rodale Press, 2003.
One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Ten Centuries of Travelers Writing about the Muslim Pilgrimage. Travel. 620 pages, Grove Press, 1997.
The Hadj: An American's Pilgrimage to Mecca. Travel. 331 pages, Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 1993.
Invisible Weapons. Stories. 177 pages, Creative Arts, 1986.
In Morocco. Travel writing, Sombre Reptiles, Berkeley Ca, 1980
No, You Wore Red. Verse, Tombouctou, Bolinas CA, 1980
How Love Gets Around. Verse, Soft Press, Vancouver, B.C., 1976
World Your Own. Verse, Calliope Press, Vermont, 1974

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
Michael Wolfe is an excellent writer. He is also a very convincing writer. For years my parents have been asking me to go for Hajj. I compromised and went for Umra. Mr. Wolfe's preface and the introduction convinced me that I should make this journey. I am preparing for the trip in year 2003. Inshallah.
This is an excellent book. Equally enlighting to Muslims and Non-Muslim. I recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
This is easily one of the most splendid and accessible

English-language works on the hajj in recent years. For Muslims about to undertake the hajj, Wolfe's thousand-year history of the great hajj narratives of men like ibn Jubayr and years later Malcolm X will offer the richness of the pilgrimage, which was often as much a picaresque travel adventure as spiritual rite. Non-Muslims will get a great swath of Muslim intellectual history, freed of the sometimes needless formalism and apologia of recent hajj narratives and a wonderful encapsulation of Islamic civilization at its height, and of course the great beauty of the pilgrimage itself. Wolfe's introductions to the many narratives serve, perhaps unintentionally, as an excellent summary of Muslim history to the present.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be wonderful. I enjoyed it alot. It really has showen change in the pilgrimage. I would recomend the book for Muslims, like my self and non- Muslims alike.
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