Armstrong, Karen

  11 Reviews

From the Prophet Muhammad's receipt of the revelations of the Quran 1500 years ago through to a postscript featuring the 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre, this guide examines the history and development of the Islamic religion. In offering an overview that includes the effect of the West on Islam and the rise of fundamentalism, it also includes possibilities for a 'way forward'.

With supporting material in the form of maps, a glossary of Arabic terms, a list of key figures, a chronology and a list of suggestions for further reading, this book provides all of the detailed information needed to counteract prejudice and gain an understanding of one of the world's greatest religions.

Comments from Groups

Very lively discussion! One or two didn't read it all, but the majority really learnt a lot.... Very topical at this point in time. I personally think everyone should read it to be more informed. Waipukurau 001

None of us enjoyed this book much although we all thought we should finish it. It was too full of detail, dates, names, incidents, wars and intrigue - impossible to remember and too academic. Some parts were enlightening and memorable, but on the whole, we felt that if we had managed to learn the difference between Shia and Sunni, we were doing well. Nevertheless, the book provoked an animated discussion for an hour and a half....... Wanganui 011

This one generated a great deal of of discussion, as you might imagine. We all know, and appreciate, a great deal more about Islam and its place in the world. Masterton 004

We found, as a group, the book to be very dense in detail and a rather difficult read. We have a better understanding of Islam according to how much of the book we managed to read.....Whakatane 008

We were left with more questions than answers after reading 'Islam'. Very topical. Worthwhile. Rotorua 002

Most readers found 'Islam' interesting, but very heavy going. Nelson 018



We were disappointed with the book as we wanted it to be more about the religion and less about the history.
AUCK 166
Dense, detailed, interesting tenets of 'how you live your life' as a Muslim. Extremely diligently researched and written. Some found it 'academic', and most struggled to read it fully despite being intrigued. Generated a lot of discussion and learning. The notes were excellent.
More challenging than many of our BDS books. Those who found the history excessive appreciated the first and last chapters. Good discussion provoked.
Some of us learned a lot from it, but on the whole it had the feel of a text-book with very dense information and very few techniques to help engage the reader.
Interesting and illuminating. Very very detailed and difficult to digest at times, but an important and worthwhile read.
Provoked good, constructive discussion although not everyone read it, and very few read it cover to cover!
HAVE 005
Most of the group found this book difficult reading. However, there was a lively discussion on Islam, and religions in general.
TAUP 003
Too wordy.
WELL 022
This book required concentration and commitment so not all of the group got through it. Those who did experienced numerous lightbulb moments as choices made by Islamic nations suddenly made sense. We thought it should be required reading for world leaders, particularly in the West.
AUCK 335
Most found the book hard to get into, the first section containing a great deal of unfamiliar historical information, but later sections were easier and more interesting. All found the book helpful in enlarging our comprehension and appreciation of Islam and helping us to understand contemporary issues.
NEWP 009
Most of us found this book a bit heavy going, but it did stimulate a lot of discussion about a general lack of knowledge about different religions.