The New Cambridge History of Islam. General editor Michael A. Cook. 6 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Winner of the 2011 Waldo G. Leland Prize for the “most outstanding reference tool in the field of history” published between May 1, 2006, and April 30, 2011!
The New Cambridge History of Islam offers a comprehensive history spanning fourteen centuries of Islamic civilization, from its beginnings in the oases and deserts of seventh-century Arabia to its wide and varied presence in the world today. This civilization grew out of a small community which coalesced under the leadership of the Prophet Muhammad and emerged, after his death, to create an empire of unprecedented extent, stretching from India in the East to Spain in the West. By the eighteenth century, despite political fragmentation, the Muslim world extended from West Africa to South East Asia. Today, Muslims are also found in significant numbers in Europe and the Americas, and make up about one-fifth of the world’s population.
To reflect this geographical distribution and the cultural, social and religious diversity of the peoples of the Muslim world, The New Cambridge History of Islam is divided into six volumes. Four cover historical developments, and two are devoted to themes that cut across geographical and chronological divisions—themes ranging from social, political and economic relations to the arts, literature and learning. Each volume begins with a panoramic introduction setting the scene for the ensuing chapters and examining relationships with adjacent civilizations. Two of the volumes—one historical, the other thematic—are dedicated to the developments of the last two centuries, and show how Muslims, united for so many years in their allegiance to an overarching and distinct tradition, have sought to come to terms with the emergence of Western hegemony and the transition to modernity.
The time is right for this new synthesis reflecting developments in scholarship over the last generation. The New Cambridge History of Islam is an ambitious enterprise directed and written by a team combining established authorities and innovative younger scholars. It will be the standard reference for students, scholars and all those with enquiring minds for years to come.