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Publisher's Summary

Scholars, journalists, and politicians uphold Muslim-ruled medieval Spain - "al-Andalus" - as a multicultural paradise, a place where Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived in harmony.
There is only one problem with this widely accepted account: It is a myth.
In this groundbreaking book, Northwestern University scholar Darío Fernández-Morera tells the full story of Islamic Spain. The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise shines light on hidden features of this medieval culture by drawing on an abundance of primary sources that scholars have ignored, as well as archaeological evidence only recently unearthed.
As professors, politicians, and pundits continue to celebrate Islamic Spain for its "multiculturalism" and "diversity", Fernández-Morera sets the record straight - showing that a politically useful myth is a myth nonetheless.
©2016 Darío Fernández-Morera (P)2016 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 11-20-16

Courageous book

The reader was superlative. And I've heard a lot if audio books. And the book is an act of intellectual courage.

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11 of 13 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By LadyLindi on 05-29-17

Too Little Content and a Bit Polemic

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not really. It's not that the book didn't have some useful content - it's just that it could have been said in 25-50 pages. The books was also too polemic for my comfort - I do actually agree with his view of Andalusia (for the same reasons, most of which I already knew) but I am distrustful of books out to prove a premise, even if the premise is correct. I understand he was writing to show why current academia is wrong on this, but I still prefer a truth seeking book, not an "I'm going to prove you wrong" presentation. Although I wouldn't call this an anti-Muslim book, it will be interpreted as such because of the way it is written, since we are in a time and culture where consigning everything Islamic to hell on earth is common.

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9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By Mark on 09-30-16

An inconvenient truth

Full of information and enjoyable narrative. A must for those who have hunger for truth over fairy tales.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Alex on 07-10-17

A harrowing account of Islamic Spain

Andalus is often cited as an example of Islamic tolerance and enlightenment. The politically correct academics who make such statements tend to overlook Berber dynasties, if they are aware of these groups at all. This book provides a reconsideration of the earlier, relatively milder period as well. The possibility of being branded a racist for presenting inconvenient facts about a religion, or of loss of funding for Middle Eastern Studies departments (much of which comes from repressive Middle Eastern regimes), have often prevented a truly honest and balanced look at Islamic Spain.

Each chapter provides a thematic examination of a different subject, from Jihad to women's rights and the treatment of religious minorities. The parade of horrors is not for the faint of heart. We hear of the widespread use of infidel women as sex slaves, some girls as young as 11 years. Based on strong primary source evidence, the author argues that there is at least the strong possibility that female genital mutilation was practiced among the Muslims of Spain. Religious minorities were humiliated and taxed at higher rates, but at least they were allowed to exist initially.

Because the book argues against conventional wisdom, it can't make claims like "Islamic Spain was a beacon of tolerance" without backing them up. So for each claim, a lot of evidence and different examples are cited. This may be tiresome for some people. While an honest look at the evidence in this book would lead to most of the author's claims being accepted, it is most likely that the politically correct establishment will simply ignore it, because it goes against their narrative.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous User on 07-08-18

Biased and subjective

I thought I was getting a deep historical observation on Muslim Spain, but instead I got a biased reading of someone who obviously holds disdain for Muslims and is just trying to discredit the rule of the Ummayad Caliphate.

Don't read this if you're expecting a non biased historical commentary based on facts, this is based on the authors selected historical information that tries to discredit and doesn't give anything meaningful to the reader. Only thing I enjoyed was the amazinglz mature voice of the narrator, but it's not enough to recommend whatsoever.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Kolia Zhivago on 09-20-17

Muslim Spain was not a nice place

This scholarly work vividly exposes the lie that Muslim Spain was a haven of tolerance and high Muslim culture. It's a must read for all who want to understand the richness of Visigoth Spain and how it was overshadowed and subsumed by heartless invaders whose fanatical religious iconoclastic zeal cast a shadow and stain on Europe that must be seen for what it was and not romanticized by modern politically correct revisionists.

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