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Moorish Spain Paperback – May 5, 2006
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My wife and I own a home in one of the oldest Moorish & Jewish quarters in Southern Spain, have visited many significant Moorish sites and have read dozens of books about Spain's Islamic period, including Maria Rosa Menocal's "Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain."
We want you to know Fletcher's book remains one of the most dog-eared, and borrowed books about Spain in our library today. If you are a fan of Moorish architecture, history, music, poetry and art, I suspect Fletcher's book will become an important companion for many years to come.
Fletcher details the Islamic, Arab-led Berber invasion of Visgothic Spain (formerly a Roman territory) from northern Africa in 711 (after the conquest of northern Africa). We are informed that in large part the conquest was intended to further the Islamicization of the Berbers. Many of the cities were originally surrounded and reached an accomodation with the invaders allowing the continued existence of djimmis of Christians. Those which did not were crushed and the lands of those who made any attempt to oppose the invasion were taken and redistributed (with the Arabs getting the most arable land and the Berbers getting the remnants). Captives were either ransomed or - if too poor or otherwise unable to pay ransom - sold into slavery. Conversion from Christianity meant an opportunity to advance oneself and to avoid periodic outbreaks of anti-Christian violence. In the meanwhile, the conquest was pushed back from those northernmost areas considered least habitable, setting the stage for the slow "reconquest" of Spain.Read more ›
There are a few slow patches (for example, Chapter 3) and several lapses into mind-numbing lists of political succession, but on the whole Fletcher, who obviously is conversant with a considerable number of both secondary and primary sources and clearly knows his stuff very well, does an admirable job of summarizing and synthesizing. I would be surprised to find another brief (less than 200 pages) history of the period and region that is comparable, much less superior.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent and balanced history of a most important segment of Christian and Muslim cooperation. Very well written.Published 6 months ago by Trice
I bought and read this before my trip to southern Spain, and I'm so glad I did. I really enjoyed this book. It's fast, well done, and very informative about the sites to see. Read morePublished on June 23, 2014 by Sean Tomlinson
For all students of Islam, Richard Fletcher's 175 pages of text are critical reading that dispel the widely disseminated myths of a kind, gentle "golden age" of Andalusian... Read morePublished on June 5, 2014 by Alyssa A. Lappen
This is not a scholarly history but a "popular" account of Moors' dominion in Spain lasting almost seven hundred years. Read morePublished on September 8, 2013 by Donald Scott
This was one of several books used in a course on "Literature and Culture of Muslim Spain" that I took in 2009. Read morePublished on June 7, 2013 by krebsman