Author: Brian A. Catlos
Extent: 496 pp
Publication: July 2018
Publisher: Hurst Publishers
A New History of Islamic Spain
Prior accounts have portrayed Islamic Spain either as a paradise of enlightened tolerance, or as the site where civilisations clashed. Award-winning historian Brian A. Catlos taps a wide array of original sources to paint a more complex picture, showing how Muslims, Christians, and Jews together built a sophisticated civilisation that transformed the Western world, even as they waged relentless war against each other and amongst themselves. Religion was often the language of conflict, but seldom its cause — a lesson we would do well to learn in our own time.
Kingdoms of Faith rewrites Spain’s Islamic past from the ground up, evoking the cultural splendour of al-Andalus and the many forces that shaped it.
A brilliant narrative history of the rise and fall of Muslim Spain. This balanced, lucid, and myth-breaking account sheds light on a unique society that has too often been demonised, romanticised or simplified. Matthew Carr, author of Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain, 1492–1614
Mediterranean studies have been shaped in an informative and innovative way by Brian Catlos’s contributions in the recent decades. His incursion now into the history of a specific region and polity — that of al-Andalus (Medieval Iberia under Muslim rule) — brings to the fore the same qualities that characterize his previous work: an inquisitive and incisive mind that homes in on perceptive questions, combined with the ability to recreate past events in an appealing manner for a wide audience. Maribel Fierro, Research Professor at the Institute of Languages and Cultures of the Mediterranean, CSIC, Madrid