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Publisher's Summary

In just over a hundred years - from the death of Muhammad in 632 to the beginning of the Abbasid Caliphate in 750 - the followers of the Prophet swept across the whole of the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. Their armies threatened states as far flung as the Franks in Western Europe and the Tang Empire in China. The conquered territory was larger than the Roman Empire at its greatest expansion, and it was claimed for the Arabs in roughly half the time. How this collection of Arabian tribes was able to engulf so many empires, states, and armies in such a short period has perplexed historians for centuries. Most accounts of the Arab invasions have been based almost solely on the early Muslim sources, which were composed centuries later to illustrate the divinely chosen status of the Arabs. Robert Hoyland's groundbreaking new history assimilates not only the rich biographical information of the early Muslim sources but also the many non-Arabic sources, contemporaneous or near-contemporaneous with the conquests.
In God's Path begins with a broad picture of the Late Antique world prior to the Prophet's arrival, a world dominated by two superpowers: Byzantium and Sasanian Persia. In between these empires, emerged a distinct Arabian identity, which helped forge the inhabitants of western Arabia into a formidable fighting force. The Arabs are the principal actors in this drama yet, as Hoyland shows, the peoples along the edges of Byzantium and Persia - the Khazars, Bulgars, Avars, and Turks - all played critical roles in the remaking of the old world order. The new faith propagated by Muhammad and his successors made it possible for many of the conquered peoples to join the Arabs in creating the first Islamic Empire.
Well-paced, comprehensive, and eminently readable, In God's Path presents a sweeping narrative of a transformational period in world history.
©2015 Oxford University Press (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By SAMA on 01-22-15

Islamic conquest history from the outside

This is an interesting look at how historians view early Islamic conquests and the explanation of their effectiveness by looking at historical documents from Muslim and other historians at the time.

The reason I give it three stars is because it requires you to look at maps in the accompanying reference PDF if you wish to get the most out of this book. While this isn't a big issue if you don't care about maps or geography; it could become annoying if maps matter to you. If that's the case, skip this and get the physical copy instead.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Abdul Qayyum on 10-23-15

Excellent reference

Where does In God's Path rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I rate it pretty high and top of the list of all audio books I ever listened.

I picked up a history book after a long time and having read a lot of history books on Rome, Byzantine, Persian and recent Indian history (from 12th century onward) and many from Muslim view point; I find myself in unique position to comment. In my opinion professor did an excellent job gathering up a lot of information and summing up nicely from outsider's view point. It is as unbiased commentary on the events took place between 6th and 8th century events in Arabian peninsula and neighboring regions. Also, how people jumped to the Arab identity and fall back to their ancestral roots later.

What was one of the most memorable moments of In God's Path?

It's a non fiction history book on the events that are well known, so mostly I knew what to expect.

Which scene was your favorite?

All. This book is very intense with lots of information.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. Unfortunately I couldn't but still finished it pretty quickly.

Any additional comments?

1 - Moghals in India existed till 1857 in Dehli and not 1757 when British sacked the last moghal king Bahadur Shah Zafar.

2 - There is no mention of the food items that those unique communities of 6th to 8th century consumed, as we know that Muslims strictly eat halal meat while Jewish eat Kosher meat and both don’t eat Pigs, hogs or boars etc.

Finally, this book has a lot of information in one place which is very impressive. I hope to read another book on the later events soon by this author.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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3 out of 5 stars
By Jonathan on 01-24-15

Good to read, but works poorly as an audiobook

This is an interesting book which gives a detailed account of an aspect of history that is typically glossed over. Every other book that I have read/listened to just describes the muslim conquests as very fast -- here one finds details beyond this. However this book does not transfer well to audio format. This is not because the narration is in any way deficient; rather it is the nature of the book. One really needs to refer regularly to map in parallel with the narrative -- the maps are provided as a pdf but having to look them up on the computer while listening rather defeats the purpose of an audiobook. Also there are lots of details that one would skip over while reading, especially the dates of almost every person mentioned. In an audio book these really get in the way of the narrative. Some parts of the book are more discursive and these work fine, but most is historical narrative which suffers from these various problems. Overall my advice is to read this book but not to listen to it.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By thomas on 02-19-16

A Fascinating Read

Once sped up to 1.25 or 1.35 the narrator becomes far more enjoyable

would recommend.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By David Schutz on 06-12-15

Was Islam spread "by the sword"?

To find out, listen to this book. Very listenable reader - a laconic American drawl with skillful Arabic pronunciation. Only drawback of the audio version is the lack of maps - for which print or ebook recommended.

This book is a valuable addition to the new Islamic origins studies. Who were the original 7th cent conquerers, and how did Islam really become a world religion?

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