What is a caliphate? What is the history of the idea? How is the term used and abused today?In the first modern account of a subject of critical importance today, acclaimed historian Hugh Kennedy answers these questions by chronicling the rich history of the caliphate, from the death of Muhammad to the present. At its height, the caliphate stretched from Spain to the borders of China and was the most powerful political entity in western Eurasia. In an era when Paris and London boasted a few thousand inhabitants, Baghdad and Cairo were sophisticated centres of trade and culture, and the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates were distinguished by major advances in science, medicine and architecture. By ending with the recent re-emergence of caliphal ideology within fundamentalist Islam, The Caliphate underscores why it is crucial that we know about this form of Islamic government to understand the political ideas of the so-called Islamic State and other Islamist groups in the twenty first century.
- Paperback | 448 pages
- 111 x 181 x 25mm | 258g
- 07 Jul 2016
- Penguin Books Ltd
- London, United Kingdom
[Kennedy] traces the history of this important, much-misunderstood concept from the death of the Prophet Muhammad in AD 632 to the present ... [The Caliphate] wears its profound erudition lightly -- Jason Burke * Literary Review * An engaging portrait of a fascinating, multifaceted history * Times Literary Supplement * A lucid and learned account of one of the most important institutions in world history - and who better to deliver it than one of our most gifted and accessible historians -- Shawkat Toorawa, Professor of Arabic, Yale University Only Hugh Kennedy has the expertise, the wide-ranging mastery of the sources, the general deep understanding of Islamic culture, and the literary style to construct a persuasive argument that describes the intellectual vitality of classical Abbasid Baghdad as similar to that of our modern-day Paris or London -- George Saliba, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Science, Columbia University Enlisting significant Arab-language scholarship, Kennedy provides a carefully calibrated, timely chronicle for nonacademic readers * Kirkus Reviews * A remarkable narrative history... A lively and compelling study -- William Dalrymple * The Times (praise for 'Court of the Caliphs') * Masterly and magical -- Simon Sebag Montefiore * Daily Telegraph (praise for 'Court of the Caliphs') * History at its most vivid and enthralling . . . a truly magnificent achievement * New Statesman (Praise for 'The Great Arab Conquests') * Intriguing ... Kennedy draws on dynastic histories and a variety of historical records and documents to make these once magnificent empires and their impressive accomplishments in science, medicine and technology, as well as literary and cultural endeavours, come to life -- Ebrahim Moosa * Wall Street Journal * [An] engrossing and entertaining introduction ... Kennedy clearly shows the continuing power of this idea to incite controversy * Publishers Weekly * British historian Hugh Kennedy takes it upon himself to recover the caliphate's meaning, and he succeeds with welcome doses of erudition, accuracy and, when necessary, empathy * Washington Post *
About Hugh Kennedy
HUGH KENNEDY is Professor of Arabic in the Faculty of Languages andCultures at School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He studied Arabic at the Middle East Centre for Arabic Studies before reading Arabic, Persian and History at Cambridge. He was formerly a professor of history at University of St. Andrews, a position he had held since 1972. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2000.
[Kennedy] traces the history of this important, much-misunderstood concept from the death of the Prophet Muhammad in AD 632 to the present ... [ The Caliphate ] wears its profound erudition lightly Jason Burke Literary Review