God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570 to 1215

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2008 - History - 473 pages
Hailed by critics as an essential book, God's Crucible is a bold, new interpretation of Islamic Spain and the birth of Europe from one of our greatest historians. David Levering Lewis's narrative, filled with accounts of some of the greatest battles in world history, reveals how cosmopolitan, Muslim al-Andalus flourished—a beacon of cooperation and tolerance—while proto-Europe floundered in opposition.

At the beginning of the eighth century, the Arabs brought a momentous revolution in power, religion, and culture to Dark Ages Europe. David Levering Lewis's masterful history begins with the fall of the Persian and Roman empires, followed by the rise of the prophet Muhammad and the creation of Muslim Spain. Five centuries of engagement between the Muslim imperium and an emerging Europe followed, from the Muslim conquest of Visigoth Hispania in 711 to Latin Christendom's declaration of unconditional warfare on the Caliphate in 1215. Lewis's narrative, filled with accounts of some of the greatest battles in world history, reveals how cosmopolitan, Muslim al-Andalus flourished—a beacon of cooperation and tolerance between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity—while proto-Europe, defining itself in opposition to Islam, made virtues out of hereditary aristocracy, religious intolerance, perpetual war, and slavery. A cautionary tale, God's Crucible provides a new interpretation of world-altering events whose influence remains as current as today's headlines.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - charlie68 - LibraryThing

A good well written history from the birth of Islam to its sence in Spain in the 13th Century. The white hats and black are dispersed fairly evenly between Muslims and Christians. And Christian society definitely benefited from the Muslim renaissance that occurred in Spain. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jensenmk82 - LibraryThing

This book is a welcome corrective to the standard Eurocentric account of the Middle Ages. Lewis writes the dense prose of a mandarin historian, with magisterial periods and ornate formulations, but ... Read full review

Contents

The Superpowers
3
The Arabs Are Coming
29
Jihad
57
The Coopted Caliphate and the StumblingJiwJ
85
The Year 711
105
Picking Up the Pieces after Rome
137
The Myth of Poitiers
160
8 The Fall and Rise of the Umayyads
184
An Empire of Force and Faith
224
Roncesvalles and Saxony
251
The Great Mosque
268
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
382
GLOSSARY
423
BIBLIOGRAPHY
439
CREDITS
449
Copyright

Saving the Popes
209

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About the author (2008)

David Levering Lewis, the author of God's Crucible, is professor emeritus of history at New York University. A recipient of the National Humanities Medal, Lewis received the Pulitzer Prize for each volume of his W.E.B. Du Bois biography. He lives in New York City.

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