By Bernard Lewis
Hailed as "the doyen of heart japanese experiences" in The long island instances e-book Review, Bernard Lewis stands on the top of his box. "To learn Mr. Lewis," wrote Fouad Ajami in The Wall road Journal, "is to be taken via a treacherous terrain via the best and so much reassuring of publications. you're within the palms of the Islamic world's most appropriate residing historian." Now this sure-handed consultant takes us via treacherous terrain indeed--the occasions of 1492, a 12 months encumbered with epic occasions and riven through political debate.
With beauty and erudition, Lewis explores that climactic 12 months as a conflict of civilizations--a conflict not just of the hot international and the previous, but in addition of Christendom and Islam, of Europe and the remainder. within the similar 12 months that Columbus set sail around the Atlantic, he reminds us, the Spanish monarchy captured Granada, the final Muslim stronghold at the peninsula, and likewise expelled the Jews. Lewis makes use of those 3 epochal occasions to discover the character of the eu- Islamic clash, putting the voyages of discovery in a impressive new context. He lines Christian Europe's course from being a primitive backwater at the edges of the enormous, cosmopolitan Caliphate, throughout the heightening contention of the 2 religions, to the triumph of the West over Islam, interpreting the criteria in the back of their altering fortunes. That contest lengthy remained extra very important in lots of Christians' minds than the hot global: as overdue because the 1683, Vienna nearly fell to the Ottoman armies. Lewis additionally displays on altering traits in eu and Islamic cultures. The Jews who fled Spain stumbled on a receptive surroundings in Turkey; however the stability of tolerance and openness to innovation progressively shifted west. The voyages of discovery have been themselves part of the Christian-Muslim clash, he writes, an try to outflank the Islamic international. the eu explorers sailed right into a international they scarcely understood; and but they imposed their very own perceptions of geography at the lands they conquered. Africa, Asia, the center and much East, the previous and New Worlds--as highbrow thoughts, all are ecu creations, Lewis observes; sarcastically, those similar definitions were authorized by means of the main anti-Western activists.
Bernard Lewis's balanced, insightful account of this pivotal period transcends the hot polemics approximately 1492, offering us with a notable portrait of an age usually obscured by way of the anger and complacency of at the present time. This far-reaching dialogue of the encounters among Islam, the West, and the globe offers a brand new figuring out of the far-off occasions that gave form to the fashionable international.