Destiny Disrupted

Destiny Disrupted

A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes

Book - 2009
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We in the west share a common narrative of world history--that runs from the Nile Valley and Mesopotomia, through Greece and Rome and the French Revolution, to the rise of the secular state and the triumph of democracy. But our story largely omits a whole civilization that until quite recently saw itself at the center of world history, and whose citizens shared an entirely different narrative for a thousand years.

In Destiny Disrupted , Tamim Ansary tells the rich story of world history as the Islamic world saw it, from the time of Mohammed to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and beyond. He clarifies why our civilizations grew up oblivious to each other, what happened when they intersected, and how the Islamic world was affected by its slow recognition that Europe--a place it long perceived as primitive and disorganized--had somehow hijacked destiny. Entertaining and enlightening, Destiny Disrupted also offers a vital perspective on current conflicts.

Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, c2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781586486068
1586486063
Branch Call Number: 909.09767 A617d 2009
Characteristics: xxii, 390 p. : maps ; 25 cm

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r
rumblefox
Jun 04, 2016

More of an apologia rather than history of islam. The fantasy history islam that ansary presents is blatantly biased not just in it's omission but it rose colored view of every era in the islamic era.

w
wyenotgo
Aug 03, 2015

This book needs to be required reading for anyone in our western society who wishes to gain some understanding of the Islamic world, our relationship with it and above all how it got to be this way. The insights the book provides are numerous and in some cases surprising. He does not make excuses or assess blame for how badly things have gone wrong. We may draw those conclusions for ourselves. Clearly, terrible mistakes have been made all around and continue being made.
For example, in Chapter 12 he explains the insidious process whereby, with the full cooperation of Islamic rulers, Europeans quietly seeped into the Muslim world as traders, consultants and "helpers", eventually morphing into overlords and owners of key resources. We learn how the industrial revolution "worked" for Europeans because their social structures and mores made it easier for them to adapt to the enormous social side effects and economic disruption of their former ways of life. Unlike Muslims, Europeans were not hampered by a deep-set, complex, clan based social and economic arrangement. In the Islamic world, industrialization exacerbated the schism between the ruling class and the common people who were left behind to be easily radicalized by religious extremists and jihadists.
Early chapters provide a helpful backdrop for how we got to the present state of the Islamic world, the origins of the various Islamic movements and sects. In so doing, Ansary succeeds in making a case for the story of Islam, its importance and its relevance to all of us being much greater than is generally taught in the west. It's helpful to understand fundamental facts; such as the high ideals with which the Islamic project was begun; the fact that there was originally no division between the secular and the religious because the secular simply didn't exist either in the social structures or in the minds of men at the time; the fact that the conflicts we see today have more to do with antagonism between traditional religious beliefs and the secular, nationalistic leaders who have taken power within the Islamic world than with Islam's objections (if any) to western ideas of freedom.
Ansary is at his best in exploring the troublesome misalignment between the historic, ethnic and cultural connections among peoples of the "Middle World" versus the arbitrarily created nation-state boundaries imposed by European powers. Above all, he presents the east-west conflict not as a "clash of civilizations" but rather a series of collisions between two very different historical cycles and two worlds that have so often lacked any meaningful way of talking to each other.

r
rge
Aug 13, 2014

This is a very 'readable' outline history that introduces us to the essential background on what, who, why and how of key aspects of the modern muslim world. For example, it explains the origin of Caliphates, which hints at the scope of one publicized objective of the ISIS in the current (August 2014) warfare in the Middle East.

o
olson_ethan
Feb 03, 2011

Ansary delivers an excellent shotgun history of what he calls the Middle World, beginning with Mohammad and the Hijra and moving into the present day. Not meant to be overly cited and scholarly, "Destiny Disrupted" is more like the narrative of history as understood by the Islamic world. An engaging and worthwhile book.

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