In the Shadow of the Sword

In the Shadow of the Sword : The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire

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A thrillingly panoramic and incredibly timely account of the rise of Islam, from the acclaimed author of "Rubicon "and "Persian Fire." The evolution of the Arab empire is one of the supreme narratives of ancient history, a story dazzlingly rich in drama, character, and achievement. In this exciting and sweeping history the third in his trilogy of books on the ancient world Holland describes how the Arabs emerged to carve out a stupefyingly vast dominion in a matter of decades, overcoming seemingly insuperable odds to create an imperial civilization aspects of which endure to the present day. With profound bearing on the most consequential events of our time, Holland ties the exciting story of Islam s ascent to the crises and controversies of the present."show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 526 pages
  • 132 x 204 x 28mm | 521.63g
  • Three Rivers Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • black & white illustrations, maps
  • 0307473651
  • 9780307473653
  • 37,124

Review quote

Praise for "In the Shadow of the Sword: ""[Tom Holland's] conclusions may be tentative, but they are convincing. His book is elegantly written and refreshingly free from specialist jargon. Marshaling its resources with dexterity, it is a veritable tour de force."--Malise Ruthven, "Wall Street Journal" "Those unwilling to struggle through academic texts have long needed a guide to the story of Islam as it's understood by those with the fullest access to the latest linguistic and archaeological evidence. Now at last in Tom Holland's "In the Shadow of the Sword," they finally have it.... Holland--author previously of "Rubicon" and "Persian Fire"--is about as exciting a stylist as we have writing history today.... [This book is] accessible but fun to read as any thriller, and with far richer intellectual nutritional content."--David Frum, "Daily Beast " """The life of Muhammad and the rise of Islam are boldly re-examined in this brilliantly provocative history.... [An] ambitious and...important book.... Holland is a skilful and energetic narrator, and while he guides us along the more intricate twists and turns of the period, he also keeps our eyes on the bigger story."--Anthony Sattin, "Guardian Observer" (London) """[An] elegant study of the roiling era of internecine religious rivalry and epic strife that saw the nation of Islam rise and conquer.... Holland confronts questions in the Quranic text head-on, providing a substantive, fluid exegesis on the original documents. Smoothly composed history and fine scholarship."--"Kirkus Reviews " "This is a book of extraordinary richness. I found myself amused, diverted and enchanted by turn. For Tom Holland has an enviable gift for summoning up the colour, the individuals and animation of the past, without sacrificing factual integrity. He writes with a contagious conviction that history is not only a fascinating tale in itself but is a well-honed instrument withbshow more

About Tom Holland

Historian Tom Holland is the author of the nonfiction works of history "Rubicon," "Persian Fire," and "The Forge of Christendom." "Rubicon" was short-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize and won the 2004 Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History, and "Persian Fire" won the Anglo-Hellenic League s 2006 Runciman Award. @holland_tom"show more

Customer reviews

This is an excellent study of the rise of pan-Arabism and Islam. The scholarship is extraordinary as is the story-telling. Hollande does not step back from making bold statements. These, however, are based on undeniable facts inasmuch as archaeology permits those. There are some leaps of faith in the reasoning, to be sure, but these are probably justified given the facts as we know them, facts that derive from archaeology and still extant texts and parchments. Some will, undoubtedly, find the language verbose but this will depend on personal taste and background. Hollande has taken a difficult subject - one which is germane to today's world - and made it readily understandable to the lay-person. It is difficult, overall, to fault the author's conclusions. Overall, it is an excellent study of a often-misunderstood more
by Lindsay Hughes
this book should be great. The subject is fascinating and poorly understood but vitally important as it describes the formation of the Christian and Islamic religions and an early clash of civilisations. The author clearly knows the subject and has done a lot of homework. Unfortunately the book is so poorly written it is almost unreadable. Long boring repetitive sentences with flowery meaningless words in a jumble of unstructured paragraphs make the book a waste of time. The editor must have been asleep and the publisher relying on the title and cover for this book to get out as it did. Don't waste 20 hours of your life tying to get through the hyperbole, don't waste your money, don't buy In the Shadow of the more
by Peter Katz