The Book of Contemplation: Islam and the Crusades

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Penguin Books Limited, Jul 3, 2008 - History - 339 pages
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The Crusades as seen through the eyes of Muslims
A significant contribution to the understanding of the medieval holy wars between Christians and Muslims, this volume brings together the best and most complete eyewitness account of the Crusades from the perspective of a medieval Muslim writer. Focusing on twelfth-century Arab aristocrat Usama ibn Munqidh's "Book of Contemplation" but also including extracts from "The Book of the Staff" and "Kernels of Refinement," this volume offers a strikingly human portrayal of Islamic perspectives on day-to-day existence, warfare, and the curious European invaders.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust theseries to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-datetranslations by award-winning translators."

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User Review  - Brasidas - LibraryThing

This book is marketed as a Muslim perspective on the Frankish invasions of the 12 century (i.e. the Crusades). There is certainly much in it about specific battles against the Christian invaders, but ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Usama ibn Munqidh was born on 4 July, 1095 in northern Syria. In the last decades of his life he concentrated on writing, collecting his scattered poems into a much-praised Diwan, but specialising in topical anthologies of poetry and prose like The Book of the Staff or Kernels of Refinement. Usama's last patron was the mighty sultan Saladin, to whom he intended his most famous work, the Book of Contemplation. He died in Damascus in 1188. Paul Cobb, Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic History at the University of Pennsylvania, has been engaged on a long-term project involving Muslim views of the Crusades and the writings of Usama ibn Munqidh in particular.

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