The Race for Paradise: An Islamic History of the Crusades

Paperback | November 26, 2016

byPaul M. Cobb

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In 1099, when the first crusaders arrived triumphant and bloody before the walls of Jerusalem, they carved out a Christian European presence in the Islamic world that remained for centuries, bolstered by subsequent waves of new crusades and pilgrimages. But how did medieval Muslims understandthese events? What does an Islamic history of the Crusades look like? The answers may surprise you.In The Race for Paradise, we see medieval Muslims managing this new and long-lived Crusader threat not simply as victims or as victors, but as everything in-between, on all shores of the Muslim Mediterranean, from Spain to Syria. This is not just a straightforward tale of warriors and kings clashingin the Holy Land - of military confrontations and enigmatic heroes such as the great sultan Saladin. What emerges is a more complicated story of border-crossers and turncoats; of embassies and merchants; of scholars and spies, all of them seeking to manage this new threat from the barbarian fringesof 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 diplomatic chess-game to be mastered, a commercial opportunity to be seized, a cultural encounter shaping Muslim experiences ofEuropeans until the close of the Middle Ages - and, as so often happened, a political challenge to be exploited by ambitious rulers making canny use of the language of jihad.

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In 1099, when the first crusaders arrived triumphant and bloody before the walls of Jerusalem, they carved out a Christian European presence in the Islamic world that remained for centuries, bolstered by subsequent waves of new crusades and pilgrimages. But how did medieval Muslims understandthese events? What does an Islamic history o...

Paul M. Cobb is Professor of Islamic History at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous books and studies, including a translation of the Arabic memoirs of a Muslim eyewitness to the Crusades published as The Book of Contemplation: Islam and the Crusades (2008). A recognized authority on relations between Islam and...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:360 pages, 8.5 × 5.31 × 0.68 inPublished:November 26, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198787995

ISBN - 13:9780198787990

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsPrologue: Saladin Nation1. The Abode of Islam2. The Frightened Sea3. Prey For the Sword4. Tasting Our Might5. Giving Lie To The Devil6. Wolves and Lions7. Let Them Be Our EulogistsAfterword: Buried HorsemenNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This is an excellent book - lucid, insightful and informative. Cobb brings a fresh perspective to contact between Muslims and Christians during the medieval period, energetically transporting us across Islamic lands from Cordova to Baghdad, via Palermo, Cairo, Jerusalem and Damascus.Sharply-chosen anecdotes cleverly illuminate life beyond the confines of holy war to give a broad and rewarding understanding of the true context and multi-faceted nature of this complex and highly important relationship." --Jonathan Phillips, author of Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades 10/04/2014