If you, like me, received an American public school education, the history of the world you learned probably began with Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, proceeded through the rise of Christianity, the European "Dark Ages" and Renaissance, and concluded with a series of world conflagrations and the rise of the US as a superpower. This version of history relegates Eastern history to a bit part in the West's Grand Story of Conquest and Triumph and we are poorer for it. Ansary's epic work presents a different view. From the life of Mohammed, the series of caliphates that formed after his death and the Sunni/Shi'a schism, through the many cultural, mathematical, and scientific advancements of the Islamic world, clashes between East and West, and the events of the 20th century, Ansary chronicles the Muslim view of world history. Engaging and accessible even for a lay reader, Destiny Disrupted will give you insight into recent geopolitics and fundamentally reorient the way you think about history. Recommended By Emily B., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The Western narrative of world history largely omits a whole civilization. Destiny Disrupted tells the history of the world from the Islamic point of view, and restores the centrality of the Muslim perspective, ignored for a thousand years.
In Destiny Disrupted, Tamim Ansary tells the rich story of world history as it looks from a new perspective: with the evolution of the Muslim community at the center. His story moves from the lifetime of Mohammed through a succession of far-flung empires, to the tangle of modern conflicts that culminated in the events of 9/11. He introduces the key people, events, ideas, legends, religious disputes, and turning points of world history, imparting not only what happened but how it is understood from the Muslim perspective.
He clarifies why two great civilizations — Western and Muslim — 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 — had somehow hijacked destiny.
With storytelling brio, humor, and evenhanded sympathy to all sides of the story, Ansary illuminates a fascinating parallel to the world narrative usually heard in the West. Destiny Disrupted offers a vital perspective on world conflicts many now find so puzzling.
"Ansary has written an informative and thoroughly engaging look at the past, present and future of Islam. With his seamless and charming prose, he challenges conventional wisdom and appeals for a fuller understanding of how Islam and the world at large have shaped each other. And that makes this book, in this uneasy, contentious post 9/11 world, a must-read." Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns
"I'm in the middle of Tamim Ansary's Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes, and it's incredibly illuminating. Ansary pretty much covers the entire history of Islam in an incredibly readable and lucid way. I've been recommending this book to everyone I know. Especially when people are looking for a comprehensive-but-approachable way to look at world history through the lens of Islam, there's no better book." Dave Eggers, TheRumpus.net
"A must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of the Islamic world. But the book is more than just a litany of past events. It is also an indispensable guide to understanding the political debates and conflicts of today, from 9/11 to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, from the Somali pirates to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict." 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
About the Author
Tamim Ansary is the author of the memoir West of Kabul, East of New York, co-author with Farah Ahmadi of the New York Times bestseller The Other Side of the Sky, and has been a major contributing writer to several secondary school history textbooks. Ansary is director of the San Francisco Writers Workshop.
Read the exclusive essays by Tamim Ansary: 2009 and 2012