Sea of Faith

Sea of Faith : Islam and Christianity in the Medieval Mediterranean World

3.92 (321 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
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The sea of faith is the Mediterranean in the millennium that we, in the west, call the Middle Ages. In that long and misunderstood era, the lands round what the Romans once called 'mare nostrum - 'our sea' - witnessed an unceasing struggle between Christianity and Islam, two siblings sprung from the same source, over who would inherit the legacy of antiquity. The collision of the two, however different its manifestations, came to fashion a wholly novel Mediterranean and, in so doing, a new world. In a magnificent book Stephen O'Shea evokes the epochal moments of the encounters between the two imperial faiths, bringing to life the instances of their momentous conflict and coexistence. The fall of the Christian Middle East at Yarmuk, Martel's 'wall of ice' at Poitiers, Byzantium's rout at Manzikert, all the way through to Saladin at Jerusalem, Lazar at Kosovo and the suicidal defence of Malta against the Ottomans - these and other fragments of our collective memory come alive and together as part of a huge canvas in this fresh, narrative history. For all those who care about the present day, and the continuing coexistence of these two cultures, history has never been so more

Product details

  • Hardback | 432 pages
  • 144 x 234 x 40mm | 762.05g
  • Profile Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Main
  • 186197521X
  • 9781861975218
  • 1,970,702

Review quote

marvellous accomplishment... provides a remarkable glimpse into the origins of the conflicts between Christians and Muslims as well as their once peaceful coexistence. * Publishers Weekly (US) * a rich chronicle of historical detail, military confrontation, and political machinations. In a sometimes lyrical and poetic voice, O'Shea tells a fascinating history * Library Journal (US) * Stephen O'Shea has a wonderful sense of place and of the survival of the past in the present. In this book he vividly evokes the interaction of Christianity and Islam over ten centuries and their struggle for pre-eminence in the Mediterranean world * Robert Irwin * more than enough action in this entertaining book to hold your attention. * Catholic Herald * admirable erudition and clarity, an authoritative overview of the period' * Independent * imaginative and robust approach...O'Shea's own style is easy, fluent and engaging * Times Literary Supplement * There is much to praise in O'Shea's book * BBC History Book of the Month * O'Shea writes miraculously well...a kind of masterpiece, unlike any other book on the subject. -- Andrew Wheatcroft * Toronto Globe & Mail * A glittering insight into hostile faiths. Every page carries a glittering freight of insight, detail and sometimes caustic observation...the author tells his story with an engaging blend of swagger and sensitivity. * Independent on Sunday * A tour de force... 'Sea of Faith' is a beautiful, necessary book, punctuated with passages of dark, luminous, symbolic power. * Christian Science Monitor * Hip historian tramps the battlefields around the Mediterranean to shed light on the great contention of Christian vs. Muslim in the Middle Ages. A vast wave of learning, every page carrying a glittering freight of insight, detail and caustic observation. * The Independent '50 Summer Reads' * His book offers a type of hope that is refreshing compared to his often cynical peers * Emel (Muslim lifestyle) Magazine interview * If you read one book on the history of the Middle East conflict, this should be it. * Oxford Times *show more

About Stephen O'Shea

Stephen O'Shea is a Canadian historian and journalist. His earlier books Back to the Front: an accidental historian walks the trenches of World War I and The Perfect Heresy: the Life and Death of the Cathars were acclaimed as popular history at its best. He lives in France. Click here for his more

Rating details

321 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 30% (96)
4 43% (139)
3 19% (61)
2 5% (16)
1 3% (9)
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