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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable introduction
Hawting's history of the Ummayad Caliphate is quite readable -- and straightens out lots of questions I had about the replacement of the Ummayads by the Abbasid dynasty (I had never understood that the jostling went on for so much of the late Ummayad period). Hawting is also helpful on understanding how much Arabisation and Islamisation went hand in hand AND were...
Published on March 14, 2004 by Michael C Tinkler

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3.0 out of 5 stars interesting look at a period not well know by most ...
interesting look at a period not well know by most.....some suprising information on the early formation of Islam ...hampered by the paucity of primary sources for the era
Published 2 months ago by Steven Nix


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable introduction, March 14, 2004
This review is from: The First Dynasty of Islam: The Umayyad Caliphate AD 661-750 (Paperback)
Hawting's history of the Ummayad Caliphate is quite readable -- and straightens out lots of questions I had about the replacement of the Ummayads by the Abbasid dynasty (I had never understood that the jostling went on for so much of the late Ummayad period). Hawting is also helpful on understanding how much Arabisation and Islamisation went hand in hand AND were resisted by the Caliphate for tax-base-preservation reasons (among others).
The book is reasonably transparent to the non-specialist. The glossary is useful and he explains most terms both in the text and in the glossary (though there are a few misfires on that score).
I've given it 4 rather than 5 stars for the non-specialist reader because it's also SHORT! Those of us who want to know about the early Caliphate without reading, say, reading Madelung's 400-pager on the succession to Muhammad are grateful for a 141-page introduction.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an outstanding brief introduction to the Umayyads, January 18, 2009
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doc peterson (Portland, Oregon USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The First Dynasty of Islam: The Umayyad Caliphate AD 661-750 (Paperback)
The issue of the succession to Mohammad is one of the seminal events in the history of Islam. That the Umayyads - a clan who previously had actively opposed Mohammad and his teachings and who converted to Islam rather late - would lay claim (and be succesful in their pursuit of) the caliphate was tremendously controversial. In fact, this issue is at the core of the scism between the shi'a and sunni. Because of its importance (both politically and dogmatically), a balanced and nuanced history is difficult to find. Hawting, in a little under 150 pages, does this.

The political, social and economic climate of the 7th century is vividly depicted, and the personalities, inter-tribal rivalries and competing claims to the succession are concisely told. This is an outstanding history written by a seasoned historian. As a previous reviewer has noted, Madelung's history of the Umayyads is much more detailed, and is certainly recommended for those who are seeking a more definitive history of the period in English. For the rest of us, however, Hawting's treatment is the one I recommend.
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3.0 out of 5 stars interesting look at a period not well know by most ..., November 17, 2014
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interesting look at a period not well know by most.....some suprising information on the early formation of Islam ...hampered by the paucity of primary sources for the era
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The First Dynasty of Islam: The Umayyad Caliphate AD 661-750
The First Dynasty of Islam: The Umayyad Caliphate AD 661-750 by G. R. Hawting (Paperback - September 10, 2000)
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