The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Mar 30, 2010 - History - 272 pages
17 Reviews
For centuries following the fall of Rome, Western Europe was a benighted backwater, a world of subsistence farming, minimal literacy, and violent conflict. Meanwhile Arab culture was thriving, dazzling those Europeans fortunate enough to visit cities like Baghdad or Antioch. There, philosophers, mathematicians, and astronomers were steadily advancing the frontiers of knowledge, as well as keeping alive the works of Plato and Aristotle. When the best libraries in Europe held several dozen books, Baghdad's great library, The House of Wisdom, housed four hundred thousand. Jonathan Lyons shows just how much "Western" ideas owe to the Golden Age of Arab civilization.

Even while their countrymen waged bloody Crusades against Muslims, a handful of intrepid Christian scholars, hungry for knowledge, traveled East and returned with priceless jewels of science, medicine, and philosophy that laid the foundation for the Renaissance. In this brilliant, evocative book Jonathan Lyons reveals the story of how Europe drank from the well of Muslim learning.

  

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Review: The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization

User Review  - Norma - Goodreads

Interesting to read, but it was difficult for me to follow as I am unfamiliar with the names of the many people referred to. It certainly sheds light on a part of the world we in the West are not frequently informed about historically. I'm glad to have come across this book. Read full review

Review: The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization

User Review  - Mbanhawy - Goodreads

Having read similar books about the contributions of Arab/Islamic civilization, I have to say that this is a worthy addition not only for the passion of the writer but through his attempts to actually ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Jonathan Lyons served as editor and foreign correspondent - mostly in the Muslim world - for Reuters for more than 20 years. He is now a researcher at the Global Terrorism Research Center and a PhD candidate in sociology of religion, both at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

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