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The Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim World, 1776-1815 Paperback – July 15, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0226014906 ISBN-10: 0226014908 Edition: New edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; New edition edition (July 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226014908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226014906
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert J. Allison is chair of the Department of History, university archivist, and director of American Studies at Suffolk University.

More About the Author

Robert J. Allison is chairman of the history department of Suffolk University in Boston and teaches courses in American Constitutional history and the history of Boston at Harvard Extension School. His books include The Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim World, 1776-1815 (2000); A Short History of Boston (2004); Stephen Decatur, American Naval Hero (2005); The Boston Massacre (2006); and The Boston Tea Party (2007). He was a consultant to the Commonwealth Museum at the State Archives in Boston, and he is on the board of overseers of the USS Constitution Museum in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He is vice president of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, an elected fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and president of the South Boston Historical Society. He lives in South Boston and summers in Provincetown on Cape Cod. His newest book, A Short History of Cape Cod, is published by Commonwealth Editions.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Christine Saalbach on February 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Crescent Obscured reads like a historical novel. Robert Allison packs the book with romance, adventure, and action. Among his heroes are Steven Decatur and James Riley, and others of this fascinating period of United States history. Allison writes with a wry sense of humor, bringing history alive. The Barbary pirates, the stuff of legends and fairy tales, were real. Allison demystifies the origin of the words to the Marine song: "to the shores of Tripoli."
Author Robert Allison's accounts are so vivid, you can almost imagine a movie script in progress. The last chapter of The Crescent Obscured is another extraordinary story, that of James Riley, captain of the Commerce, and his crew. Shipwrecked in the Mediterranean near the Spanish Sahara, James Riley endured two years of captivity, remaining all the while concerned about his crew and trusting Providence for their deliverance. Riley wrote a book about his experiences, called Travels and Sufferings: An Authentic Narrative of the Loss of the American Brig Commerce, Wrecked on the Western Coast of Africa in the Month of August 1815. Not only did Riley recite the events of the captivity in his book, but also made references to the state of slavery. Riley's book was one of six that Abraham Lincoln claimed most influenced him.
The Crescent Obscured is history made fun to read. Robert Allison teaches us what influence the Muslim world had on the infant nation. We learn that there certainly was much more than we might have expected before reading Allison's wonderful book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Wilding on June 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
I'll begin with outright shock at the review before mine, which characterizes this book as in the tone of academic elitism.

On the contrary, having suffered through volumes of history written for scholars, this book was refreshingly written for a reader of non-fiction generally. While enjoying a background in history that is rather extensive, my grasp of the Barbary Wars can only be explained as limited, and Allison's history served as an excellent buffer of not only the conflicts in Africa, but their social and literary impacts in the United States at the time and their impact in shaping the Islamo-American relations of centuries to come.

While this book does not represent Professor Allison's most widely accessible work, it is clearly an early symbol of his academic abilities, which has been echoed and extrapolated since.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful By ZANZIBAR on June 4, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book could be the quintessential book on U.S. & the Barbary coasts relationships from 1776-1815 the illustrations are really magnificent especially the 17th century portrait of a Moorish king which actually looks like a so called "North American Indian chief in full regalia". The caption also explains how Europeans always thought the Desert dwellers and North American "Indians" were parallel in likeness (because they were and are the same). This book read carefully can bring the reader into understanding the ancient Moors were indigenous to this land (North America); this story is untold in his-story books.
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