The Race for Paradise
- An Islamic History of the Crusades
- Narrated by: Paul M. Cobb
- Length: 12 hrs and 29 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 01-26-15
- Language: English
- Publisher: Audible Studios
Regular price: $24.95
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In The Race for Paradise, Paul M. Cobb offers a new history of the confrontations between Muslims and Franks we now call the "Crusades", one that emphasizes the diversity of Muslim experiences of the European holy war. There is more to the story than Jerusalem, the Templars, Saladin, and the Assassins. Cobb considers the Arab perspective on all shores of the Muslim Mediterranean, from Spain to Syria. In the process, he shows that this is not a straightforward story of warriors and kings clashing in the Holy Land, but a more complicated tale of border-crossers and turncoats; of embassies and merchants; of scholars and spies, all of them seeking to manage a new threat from the barbarian fringes of their ordered world. When seen from the perspective of medieval Muslims, the Crusades emerge as something altogether different from the high-flying rhetoric of the European chronicles: as a cultural encounter to ponder, a diplomatic chess-game to be mastered, a commercial opportunity to be seized, and as so often happened, a political challenge to be exploited by ambitious rulers making canny use of the language of jihad.
The Race for Paradise fills a significant historical gap, considering in a new light the events that distinctively shaped Muslim experiences of Europeans until the close of the Middle Ages.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Meeno on 05-28-15
A heady piece of history and a romp.
Always good to go back in time, and Cobb puts us squarely into an era so often read from a one sided, Western/Christian point of reference. Here instead, you get a Western read of the Islamic POV of the Crusades and you find that these centuries of rampage and pillage were part of a long litany of expansionist endeavors by both sides, a constant ebb and flow of hegemony hard won throughout the medieval Levant and lands around the Mediterranean. Hard not to draw references to today's constant turmoil in the Islamic Near East. Much food for thought as Cobb clarifies the nomenclature of Muslim Jihad, especially in reference to the body of preconceptions that surround the historical notions of the Crusades. And Cobb's reading is terrific and sometimes a bit hypnotic. He really takes you into the era, as scholar and as poet. I look forward to what he writes, and reads, next.
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