Thanks to Netgalley and Yale University Press for the advanced copy! This did not influence my opinions whatsoever.
First thing’s first. I didn’t technically finish it. I got super close to the end of part three before I decided that, right now, it was enough for me and that I had formulated my opinion very early on. I simply did not need to keep reading the book to find out more.
It’s a very dense book. I mean, it takes you from pre-Islamic history (because you have to get background on exactly why Muhammad’s message was radical) to current times. That’s a lot of history. And since Islam spread globally, that is a lot of countries, areas, and names. It’s dense. It’s difficult. It’s a journey.
And, I couldn’t get through it because I was finding myself confused. That’s not a ding on the book, per say. It’s just that you have to concentrate very hard on it to glean the information, keep names straight, and really understand what was going on. It’s not an easy book. While I wasn’t looking for one, I didn’t expect it to exactly be like this.
The writing was good. Polk assumed that you knew nothing or next to nothing. I think he had great theses and really backed them up with how many examples he gave, not to mention the depth of analysis he was able to draw from his examples.
However, this book is not for a beginner such as myself. This is a book that you should take months to read and absorb. I didn’t have that much time. So, good but a bit too much for me right now.