Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


"The Conflict wracking the modern world is not, I think, best understood as a “clash of civilizations,” if that proposition means we’re-different-so-we-must-fight-until-there’s-only-one-of-us. It’s better understood as the friction generated by two mismatched world histories intersecting.”  

Growing up in America, my first exposure to the Islamic world was watching the Disney animated movie Aladdin. In school, I was taught little to nothing about Islamic history, religion, or culture. I just assumed everyone traveled on either camels or flying carpets, and that there were magic lamps with genies inside that could grant you three wishes. (Or at least there was Christina Aguilera)

Besides these racist stereotypes, there were mostly negative things spoken about Islam. Commentators focused on how different and foreign the Islamic World is, how women are subjugated, and that Muslims hate our freedoms.  

Tamin Ansary does an outstanding job trying to fight against these naïve assumptions by providing a bird’s eye view of an over thousand-year-old history that both educates the reader about the cultural and scientific advances that the Islamic world has provided, and entertains the reader with remarkable stories about the spread of Islam from a tiny cave in the Arabian desert to becoming one of the World’s biggest religions.

— From Social Change

Description


The Western narrative of world history largely omits a whole civilization. Destiny Disrupted tells the history of the world from the Islamic point of view, and restores the centrality of the Muslim perspective, ignored for a thousand years.

In Destiny Disrupted, Tamim Ansary tells the rich story of world history as it looks from a new perspective: with the evolution of the Muslim community at the center. His story moves from the lifetime of Mohammed through a succession of far-flung empires, to the tangle of modern conflicts that culminated in the events of 9/11. He introduces the key people, events, ideas, legends, religious disputes, and turning points of world history, imparting not only what happened but how it is understood from the Muslim perspective.

He clarifies why two great civilizations-Western and Muslim-grew up oblivious to each other, what happened when they intersected, and how the Islamic world was affected by its slow recognition that Europe-a place it long perceived as primitive-had somehow hijacked destiny.

With storytelling brio, humor, and evenhanded sympathy to all sides of the story, Ansary illuminates a fascinating parallel to the world narrative usually heard in the West. Destiny Disrupted offers a vital perspective on world conflicts many now find so puzzling.

About the Author


Tamim Ansary is the author of Destiny Disrupted and Games without Rules, among other books. For ten years he wrote a monthly column for Encarta.com, and has published essays and commentary in the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Alternet, TomPaine.com, Edutopia, Parade, Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. He has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Bill Moyers, PBS The News Hour, Al Jazeera, and NPR. Born in Afghanistan in 1948, he moved to the U.S. in 1964. He lives in San Francisco.

Praise For…


"Ansary has written an informative and thoroughly engaging look at the past, present and future of Islam. With his seamless and charming prose, he challenges conventional wisdom and appeals for a fuller understanding of how Islam and the world at large have shaped each other. And that makes this book, in this uneasy, contentious post 9/11 world, a must-read."

Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns

"I'm in the middle of Tamim Ansary's Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes, and it's incredibly illuminating. Ansary pretty much covers the entire history of Islam in an incredibly readable and lucid way. I've been recommending this book to everyone I know. Especially when people are looking for a comprehensive-but-approachable way to look at world history through the lens of Islam, there's no better book."—Dave Eggers, TheRumpus.net

"A must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of the Islamic world. But the book is more than just a litany of past events. It is also an indispensable guide to understanding the political debates and conflicts of today, from 9/11 to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, from the Somali pirates to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. As Ansary writes in his conclusion, "The conflict wracking the modern world is not, I think, best understood as a 'clash of civilizations.' ... It's better understood as the friction generated by two mismatched world histories intersecting."
San Francisco Chronicle

"A lively, thorough and accessible survey of the history of Islam (both the religion and its political dimension) that explores many of the disconnects between Islam and the West."
Shelf Awareness


Product Details
ISBN: 9781586488130
ISBN-10: 1586488139
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication Date: April 27th, 2010
Pages: 416
Language: English