Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes
by Tamim Ansary

Destiny DisruptedAn excellent history, easy to read, that made me rethink and understand from a completely different perspective.

Opening paragraphsLong before Islam was born, two worlds took shape between the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Bengal.  Each coalesced around a different network and travel routes; one of them, mainly seas; the other, land routes. 

If you look at ancient sea traffic, the Mediterranean emerges as the obvious center of world history. . . and out of this came “Western civilization.”

If you look at ancient overland traffic however, the Grand Central Station of the world was the nexus of roads and routes connecting [India, Asia, and Egypt].  This eventually became the Islamic world.

Unfortunately, common usage assigns no single label to this second area. . . . I prefer to call this whole area from the Indus to Istanbul the Middle World, because it lies between the Mediterranean world and the Chinese world.

Quotes from critics: “A must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of the Islamic world. . . . As Ansary writes in his conclusion, ‘The conflict wracking the modern world is not, I think, best understood as a ‘clash of civilizations.’ … It’s better understood as the friction generated by two mismatched world histories intersecting.’” (San Francisco Chronicle); “A lively, thorough and accessible survey of the history of Islam (both the religion and its political dimension) that explores many of the disconnects between Islam and the West.” (Shelf Awareness); “. . . two one-sided views of world history. His book is a valuable tool for opening up a view of the other side.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Bio: Tamim Ansary (1948- ), born in Kabul, Afghanistan, is an Afghan-American author, public speaker, columnist for the encyclopedia website Encarta, and a major contributor to several secondary school history textbooks. Ansary is director of the San Francisco Writers Workshop.