In the 6th century AD, the Near East was divided between two venerable empires: the Persian and the Roman. A hundred years on and one had vanished forever, while the other seemed almost finished. Ruling in their place were the Arabs: an upheaval so profound that it spelt, in effect, the end of the ancient world. In The Shadow of the Sword, Tom Holland explores how this came about. Spanning from Constantinople to the Arabian desert, and starring some of the most remarkable rulers who ever lived, he tells a story vivid with drama, horror, and startling achievement.
©2012 Tom Holland (P)2012 Hachette Digital
"An unequivocal argument for the relevance of ancient history . . . Holland never strains for modern references; they are implicit in the stories he tells with such scholarship and flair." (Geraldine Bedell, Observer)
"Brings this tumultuous, epoch-making period dazzlingly to life." (William Napier, Independent on Sunday)
"Tom Holland has a rare eye for the detail, drama and the telling anecdote . . . A vibrant, bloodthirsty history, told with a rich sense of irony and irresistible narrative timing" (Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Telegraph)
The content of this book was absolutely fascinating but I did have trouble maintaining concentration. There was something not quite solid enough in the structure for me, but I do struggle to explain what!
this book is a fascinating journey through the origins of Islam, and because the muslim sources are so few in regard of the actual birth of Islam, the author looks to the other civilizations surrounding it's cradle at the time to find clues as to what is true and what is fictional addition from later periods.
great narrator, thorough research. An intricate narrative that fits the complex cultural currents clashing at that time in that place.
highly recommend it!
I had long suspected much of what was written about Islam. It is apparent from reading the Quran and a knowledge of the contemporary history. In an eloquent well researched and never insulting manner this book expands this history. You will delight in the weaving of middle eastern and tribal history to make the development of Islam contemporary and not as mysteriously isolated as it seems.Listened to this book twice.
"Myths, Legends, Religion and History"
A fascinating narrative, blending history, myth and religious texts into a biography of the people's of the book (books!).
Perhaps my only criticism being that it was often difficult to tell if you were being told a myth, or a historical fact. Maybe that's the point.
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