A popular history of the Arab invasions that carved out an empire from Spain to China
Today's Arab world was created at breathtaking speed. Where the Roman Empire took over 200 years to reach its full extent, the Arab armies overran the whole Middle East, North Africa and Spain within a generation. They annihilated the thousand-year-old Persian Empire and reduced the Byzantine Empire to little more than a city-state based around Constantinople. Within a hundred years of the Prophet's death, Muslim armies destroyed the Visigoth kingdom of Spain and crossed the Pyrenees to occupy southern France.
This is the first popular English language account of this astonishing remaking of the political and religious map of the world. Hugh Kennedy's sweeping narrative reveals how the arab armies conquered almost everything in their path. One of the few academic historians with a genuine talent for storytelling, he offers a compelling mix of larger-than-life characters, battles, treachery and the clash of civilisations.
a lucid and enlightening work that is surely to become the standard popular history of early Islam for many years to come - BIRMINGHAM POST - Adam Levitt
Hugh Kennedy studied Arabic at the Middle East Centre for Arabic Studies before reading Arabic, Persian and History at Cambridge. Since 1972 he has taught in the Department of Mediaeval History at the University of St. Andrews. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2000.