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I came to this book with a cursory understanding of Sunni/Shia differences, as well as -- if I'm honest, a fairly meager understanding of the history of Islam. This book pulls off a major feat in being both informational and riveting. Totally riveting. Stay-up-far-longer-than-intended riveting.
At first, I was somewhat skeptical of the narrator. Meaning simply that I wasn't sure from the sample that I would enjoy her narration.) Well, I more than enjoyed it; I loved it. I can't think of a better narrator for this
I realize that I may come across as being hyperbolic, but this is simply one of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to -- in any genre. If you have the slightest bit of interest in learning more about Islam, about divisions within the religion, or even just if you're looking for a story that will command your full attention...well, then I would highly recommend listening to this audiobook.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
This is a subject I am not too familiar with. I am well versed on the gulf between Catholicism and Protestantism, but the politics of Islam is new information for me. I would assume this book would be of interest to those readers not familiar with the religion of Islam.
The split in the Islam world began as Muhammad lay dying. Apparently, the battle was between the family of the favorite wife, Aisha, against his son- in- law, philosopher/warrior Ali. Fifty years later, in what is modern day Iraq, Ali is assassinated. Soldiers of the first Sunni dynasty led by Muawiya massacred seventy-two warriors led by Muhammad’s grandson Hussein at Karbala in 680 AD. Hussein’s ordeal at Karbala became a passion story at the core of Shia Islam. It is part of the annual Ashura rites.
The book is well written and researched. Hazelton’s gripping prose provides insight into origins of the most volatile blend of politics and religion. The author balances past and present as she shows how these 7th century events are alive in the Middle East today. Hazelton states all would have been simple if Muhammad had had a son, but alas he did not.
This book will supply a starting point for readers attempting to understand a complex subject. Hazelton’s writing is biased toward the Shia. I wished she had presented a neutral telling of the facts and let me make up my own mind.
I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is about seven and half hours long. Leslie Hazelton narrated her own book. She has a most interesting deep voice.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful