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Lost History: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists Hardcover – June 19, 2007
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From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Unlike many other books that touch upon this subject, this book recognizes the *individuals* who made specific intellectual achievements. Most other books typically credit the accomplishments of this era to the Muslim world in general. Needless to say, such a false attribution is as misleading as stating that 19th and 20th century Americans invented the light bulb, the telephone and the transistor.Read more ›
After presenting a brief history of the first centuries of Islam, the richness, depth, breadth and variety of Islamic thought is presented, convincingly arguing that Muslim philosophers and scientists are inheiritors of the Greco-Roman world as much (if not more than) Europe, and that these thinkers pushed intellectual boundaries to the benefit of everyone. These details make the book, as the connections between 9th and 10th century Islam and the present are profound.
However, Morgan has a tendency to dramatize and personify history, which I though detracted from the effectiveness of his point. To write about the internal thoughts of ibn Sina would be fine for fiction, but have no place in a historical text. Similarly, in an effort to make the connections between past and present clearer, each chapter begins with a character in the present reflecting on or wrestling with the legacy of the Islamic past. Because of this, I almost gave it three stars - but the importance and impact of the Islamic past is so important and relevant that I forgave him a star.
With this historical caveat, it is a remarkable read, and one that I highly recommend.
In Lost History, Michael Morgan presents a dense and richly detailed overview of the flowering of Islamic culture. While he gives some attention to religious controversies and some to war and conquest, Morgan's primary purpose is to illuminate the achievements of the artists and intellectuals -- not all of them Moslem -- who were nurtured by Islamic society. The book is a call to become more aware of how their work still echoes around us; it is a spur to further reading and study.
It's a book about Muslim intellectuals, scientists, inventors, leaders and the significant achievements they made in the areas of astronomy, mathematics and medicine. Mr. Morgan also describes cities that were the centers of learning and intellectual thought in the world at the time such as Baghdad (Yes, the same Baghdad), Cordoba and Cairo.
My favourite account is that of ibn Firnas the inventor, who in the year 875 built a glider and flew for 10 minutes, but did not consider the mechanics of landing.
It is a well written book and easy to read with some amazing stories.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bottom line: if you want to learn about Medieval Muslim history, scholarship, art and invention, this is a good book, but you should ignore Michael Morgan’s assessments of... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Cardinalis
Wonderful book! I enjoyed the fictional stories at the beginning of each chapter, connecting
the present to past. Read more
This book, like other books in its kimd, consists mostly of exaggerations bordering on falsehood. It's really awful. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Stephen M. St Onge
Rich contents. Balanced approach.
Still not finished with it.
I got this book for a cultural anthropology class and I must say that I read this through and through. Read morePublished on May 7, 2014 by Jasmine
used it for a class on Islamic Civilizations. really informative and enjoyed the read. way more interesting than a textbook!Published on April 26, 2014 by Amazon Customer
What a great book. I had my students read it in school, and they loved it. Human history includes all of humanity. Read morePublished on April 17, 2014 by O.J.
First few chapters bring you up to speed on the overall places, rulers and people. Gives you an idea of the who, what, where things were so you can understand the people and... Read morePublished on February 12, 2014 by AmazonShopper