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Slavery in the Arab World Paperback – April 21, 1998

4.3 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: New Amsterdam Books; Revised ed. edition (April 21, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561310239
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561310234
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jedidiah Carosaari VINE VOICE on August 11, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book had some very helpful information, and very surprising information, which I was delighted to learn. Unfortunately, I didn't learn as much as I would have liked because of the writing style.

This is honestly in part due to translation, which Gordon can't be blamed for. There were parts of the book where one could tell that there was an obvious translation error from the French, where the word or phrase wasn't used quite the correct way it is supposed to be used in English. However, numerous times Gordon also contradicts his own thoughts, making for confusing reading. As he himself admits, much of the research itself is contradictory, but he could have done a better job of weeding through the research, and his editor a better job of clearing up contradictions before publication.

I still recommend this, because it is such important information, and there is so little out there. This book should be seen as important first broadside in understanding an important part of our history. There was so much information here that I had never before known. I had no idea the slave trade continued across Sahara until 1920's, and slavery still allowed in the Middle East until 1970's. Gordon gives amazing details on the horrible atrocities committed under this institution, like emasculation of children. His scholarship is quite good- he rightly faults past researchers who were so against slavery that they made the problem bigger than it was. So, for instance, Gordon shows how the emasculation death rate of 99% is exaggerated by far, it being closer to only a 90% death rate.
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Format: Paperback
Gordon murray has produced a great pioneeing scholarly work into a known but least talked about aspect in history. And that is the arab slave trade in africa. he shows how in africa like other places throughout the world there was already a established slave system, that was similar to european serfdom and other forms of servitude practice throughout the world. he also shows how slavery was embedded in the arab world before islam. and how islam became the rationale for slavery and the basic attitudes of arabs towards africans. some good but most negative. the eastern slave trade was mainly dominated by arabs and other asians (persians, turks, east indians) but the africans from the interior as well as the swahillis along the coast played very signifigant roles in this trade. he also shows how there was diaspora of africans throughout the arab world. this book is excellent for anybody who is interested in the eastern slave trade. i highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
It's fascinating when one comes across history that is not often told, or is ignored. This thouroughly depressing book manages to cover the scope, immense timespan and breadth of the arab slave trade around the world in antiquity. It also doesn't shirk from dealing with the uncomfortable truths of the involvement of Africans in trading each other, or the religious basis for the slave trade as conducted by the arabs. The opening chapter adequately tackles the reasons the world doesn't seem to want to tackle the injustice of more than a thousand years of arabs trading black slaves.

As someone who has family from the slave catchment areas in East Africa, it was interesting to read the accounts and reports of the events my grandfather would describe in his tales.

A thoroughly good read... and a much needed education for all those who thought the european trans-atlantic slave trade was the worst there ever was.
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By A Customer on April 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
Murray Gordon's expressed purpose in writing Slavery in the Arab World was to raise awareness about an issue which has been neglected in academia in recent years: the vast arab slave trade, which for millenia dwarfed any other slave operations in the world. the book contrasts arab slavery, which granted some minimal rights to its slaves, to european slavery, which, although it lasted briefly compared to arab slavery, was arguably harsher in its treatment of slaves. the book traces the history of slavery from the dawn of islam, to the 1960's, when it was abolished in the gulf states, noting that slavery still persists in some african nations. it is fairly easy to read, and contians a great deal of information on the topic.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book gives an unflinching view of the horrors of slavery in the Arab world, and by necessity, touches on slavery in the wider Islamic world as well. It does not paint Islam in a good light, but it does not single out the religion for opprobrium either. The practitioners of the horrors of Islamic slavery could not justify all of their practices with the Qu'ran, but within it they found plenty of justification for much of the behavior that we in the West now condemn. The fact that slavery was only abolished in Saudi Arabia in the 1960s was particularly shocking, but the fact that Sultan Qaboos of Oman outlawed slavery upon overthrowing his father was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal subjectscape. The book cites an observation from the historian Eric Williams that "racism was the consequence of slavery", and that noteworthy quote seems to sum up the intertwined trajectories of slavery and racism in the Arab and Islamic worlds. In light of that statement, a particularly puzzling fact was the continued cooperation of Africans in the Islamic slave trade, even as some African Muslims were themselves treacherously forced into slavery, as the human traffickers' greed often took precedence over abstract notions of Islamic solidarity. Given that ethnicity as well as religion is so important in this book, the only fuzzy part is the racial identities of some of the Moors in Spain. But on the whole, this is a well-written, scholarly book.
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