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The Adventures of Ibn Battuta: A Muslim Traveler of the Fourteenth Century, Revised Edition, with a New Preface

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  469 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
Ross Dunn here recounts the great traveler's remarkable career, interpreting it within the cultural and social context of Islamic society and giving the reader both a biography of an extraordinary personality and a study of the hemispheric dimensions of human interchange in medieval times.
Paperback, 379 pages
Published December 9th 2004 by University of California Press (first published 1987)
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Julia Simpson-Urrutia
Feb 14, 2011 Julia Simpson-Urrutia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
When I met Professor Dunn, he was already being called American's foremost authority on Ibn Battuta. As we discussed our mutually favored subject, I will never forget how he commented, "I believe I can say that I know just how a Maliki scholar in the 14th century would think."

Ibn Battuta's name should be as familiar to Near and Middle Eastern school children as Marco Polo's does to Western pupils. Born half a century after the Venetian traveler, Abu Abdallah ibn Battuta was in face more widely t
May 29, 2008 Kashif rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Muslims and non-Muslims
Ibn Battuta was an amazing man who with very few possessions and only trust in Almighty God travelled half the world and came back to describe it. People mention Marco Polo as the first great explorer in world history however they dismiss Ibn Batuta at their peril.

Ibn Battuta was before Marco Polo by a few hundred years. So by my reckoning Ibn Battuta should be regarded in the West and around the world as the first real great explorer, however because he was a Muslim it seems as though he never
Grady McCallie
Mar 18, 2012 Grady McCallie rated it really liked it
Abu Abdallah ibn Battuta seems to have been a very lucky man. Born in Tangiers, ibn Battuta left in 1325, age 21, on a 24 year trip that took him across North Africa, the Near East, southern Russia, India, Sumatra, and perhaps China, returning in 1349. He subsequently also visited southern Spain and crossed the Sahara to Mali and back. With the help of a young amanuensis, he then wrote a travel memoir, or rihla. I haven't read the excerpts of his memoir available in modern English translation, b ...more
Apr 28, 2008 Katherine rated it it was ok
I thought this would be much easier to read than the original I had to slog through in college, and it was, but expectedly it's not nearly as exciting. And I was let down by the author's use of the original text. This should have been either a breezy travelogue or a hard-core academic book. It falls uncomfortably in between. And if Ibn Battuta lied about his travels as much as Marco Polo did, then I wanted some more explanation for that, and maybe a comparison to the works of the people who didn ...more
Rowland Bismark
Jul 26, 2010 Rowland Bismark rated it really liked it
Ibn Battuta set off from Tangier in 1325, visiting Egypt, Mecca, Syria, Iraq, Anatolia, the Central Asian steppe, India, the Maldives and possibly China before returning home nearly twenty five years later. After additional trips to Spain and West Africa he settled down and his story was turned into a Rihla (travel narrative) by Ibn Juzayy.

The Adventures of Ibn Battuta follows Ibn Battuta's travels chronologically, but doesn't stay narrowly focused on the details of his career. It offers extensi
Jonathan Danz
Jan 19, 2011 Jonathan Danz rated it liked it
On the one hand, Ibn Battuta's journey throughout the medieval Muslim world was fascinating and the author does a nice job of capturing the flavor of the mosaic of ruling powers throughout the Near, Middle and Far East.

The drawbacks are the way Ibn Battuta's journeys were chronicled a couple of years after he returned from over 20 years of traveling. There is some doubt as to some of his journeys and there are references from scholars of Ibn Battuta's time that cast him as a liar.

At the beginni
Peter Mcloughlin
This book was a lot more interesting than the Marco Polo book I just read. Both are stories of world travelers who experienced exotic lands and have interesting tales to tell about the world. The author of this book keeps the reader engaged with more descriptive detail and gripping stories. Marco Polo is now being made into a series based on the book I just read. I don't see what the hollywood scriptwriter saw in such a blah book. This book is much more interesting and fun to read. Good writing ...more
Sep 05, 2012 Haries rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Acungkan tangan jika menikmati membaca buku kisah perjalanan Ibnu Battuta yg diinterpretasi oleh seorang profesor sejarah Ross E. Dunn.
Ketertarikan terhadap sejarah islam, cerita biografi adalah modal untuk membaca buku ini.
Jan 06, 2008 Zoe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, middle-east
This was informative in terms of learning about the Arab world's equivalent of Marco Polo. However, it was a book that I could certainly put down. Although there were certainly some episodes that grabbed my attention, in general I didn't find it super engaging.
Jun 18, 2007 Chris rated it really liked it
This was a really fun book, with a touch of dry humor to it. It's actually a really good introduction to Islam as well. For Muslims, it's hard to believe what the world was once like, and it's harder to believe Ibn Battuta traveled across it all before the advent of cars, rails, and planes.
Mar 16, 2017 Fatemah rated it really liked it
While Ibn Battuta's accounts across the globe seem more like a piece of history to me than anything else, I still found a basis on which to rate this book. I especially liked the background Dunn gave on the areas Ibn Battuta traveled to prior to actually quoting the Rihla. I thought it really put the text in context and helped make for an easy read.
Of all the books that fall into the travel writing genre, I would have to say Ibn Battuta's accounts are my favorite. Upon comparing his own account
Scott Pierce
Jun 24, 2015 Scott Pierce rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-world
This book was assigned to my daughter for her AP World History course, and looked interesting so I decided to read it and found it worth the time. Ibn Battuta was the Marco Polo of the Muslim world in the 14th century and traveled from his home in Morocco across the Middle East, up to the Caucuses, then down to India and crossed the fault lines of various dynasties and cultures.

Some points I found interesting:

- During his travels Battuta was not treated as a Moroccan, but as a member of Dar al-I
Aug 18, 2007 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1325 the young Morrocan Ibn Battuta left his home to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. On the way, he became enamoured with travel and travelled half the world, from North Africa to China, before returning to his home in 1349. His record of his journeys, the Rihla, is difficult to read and chaotically organised, leading historian Ross E. Dunn to present Ibn Battuta's story in a more accessible format. The Adventures of Ibn Battuta is an extremely interesting book, and I recommend it highly to any ...more
Wulan Wuri
Aug 01, 2013 Wulan Wuri rated it really liked it
"Pendidikan seorang sarjana menjadi besar kemajuannya dengan melakukan perjalanan untuk mencari pengetahuan dan menjumpai guru-guru yang berwenang (bagi zamannya)." --Ibnu Khaldun. Kutipan dari buku The Muqaddimah, edisi ke-2, terjemahan F. Rosenthal, 3 jilid. (Priceton, N.J., 1967), jilid 3, hlm. 307 (dalam Petualangan Ibnu Batuta karya Ross E. Dunn)___"sarjana" di sini kata teman saya dalam bahasa Arab yang sesungguhnya lebih merujuk pada "penuntut ilmu", bukan sarjana dalam bahasa Indonesia s ...more
Mohamed Yasir Hassan
Oct 16, 2011 Mohamed Yasir Hassan rated it really liked it
The Adventures of Ibn Battuta provides in vivid detail all the countries he had visited, including Egypt, Hijaz (present day Saudi Arabia) as well as his home country, the Maghrib (present day Morocco). The most significant part of his Rihla (journey) would have to be his stay at Mecca to perform Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca which a Muslim must perform at least once in their life) where he performed all the religious rites necessary alongside thousands of Muslims from all over the world. What I ...more
Sep 03, 2014 Austin rated it really liked it
A clear study of Ibn Battuta's travelogue for the non-specialist. It's most accurate to call it an abridgement of the travels with commentary, with context about the medieval world of the time. The introduction admits that much itself. Dunn makes quick mention about historiographical issues, like chronology and text-lifting from other contemporary writings (plagiarism was viewed differently in the medieval Muslim literati, apparently), and hides the denser details in the end-of-chapter footnotes ...more
Jan 28, 2016 Caracalla rated it liked it
I gave this a quick skim. It's pretty much a summary of the original rihla work, with the odd paragraph on the technicalities of sea-faring and navigation in this period. It would have been interesting to see some analysis of the rihla as a literary genre or some other analytical material; he doesn't engage too deeply on the question of what could have been faked here, one of the most interesting issues related to the work. Material taken from tabaqat on ibn Battuta and presented here is interes ...more
Claire Wankiewicz
Mar 23, 2010 Claire Wankiewicz rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone with a grade 10 reading level
Recommended to Claire by: book review on line
I was enchanted by the description of an era of peace and prosperity whereby a young man full of education and not sure that he wants to 'settle down' yet -- my, how nothing much changes under the sun! -- could safely travel the entire Muslim world, most of Africa, pretty much all of the middle east, and even India, and be recieved wherever he went by the local head mogul who would treat him with respect and a generous welcome. Ibn Battuta himself seemed so ordinary. No hero or whiz kid at all, ...more
Jan 28, 2012 Ahmed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biographic
Good book. It was more of an abridged itinerary of Ibn Battuta's Rihla with commentary than an actual reproduction. I found parts of it hard to follow because of the simplicity of the maps and the sheer number of places he visited, but it certainly improved my geographic knowledge. Alhough it was mostly patchy on descriptions of places (a fault of the original account, not the author of the book), it exposed me to a few historic empires that I hadn't heard of, and left me with a lot of future re ...more
Aug 20, 2010 Heman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
When I first started reading this book I was very disappointed; it was a generally paraphrased scholarly treaty of the original work and the the history and geography of the places mentioned in the book with little or no direct quotes from the original. I got so upset that I skipped the first chapter after a few pages and went straight to the third chapter hoping that it gets better and it actually grew on me. After finishing the third chapter I went back to first and read steadily til the end o ...more
David Usharauli
Good book. Mostly contains an overview of Ibn Battuta's travel itinerary with background information about countries he visited. If you are interested in world history in the first half of the 14th century (when Mongol world domination was about to end), then definitely read this book. I did not know much about Ibn battuta before this book. Very lucky guy, if you ask me. To travel so extensively and then to able to return back home in Morocco and even to survive the black death of 1347? remarkab ...more
Jan 06, 2014 Adi rated it it was ok

Memulakan tahun 2014 dengan bacaan yg baik.
Walaupun aku tak menyukai keseluruhan isi buku ini.
Keseluruhan isi buku ini hanyalah memberi gambaran sudut sosio-politik zaman ibn battuta dalam rangka menyangkal kesahihan catatan pengembaraan musafir agung islam ini.

oleh kerana aku belum pernah membaca karya asal ibn battuta yg berjudul'rihla' itu, membaca kritik ini sama seperti kita membaca ruangan komen yg melarat di youtube tanpa menonton sedikitpun video pencetus polemiknya. sama sekali tak mas
If this were fiction, it would get only 2 stars, because it is, I'm afraid, a bit of a yawner. However, I stuck with it (doggedly, a chapter at a time between novels) because the information--geography and history of the Islamic world in the early 14th century--is interesting. I feel better educated for having read it--which is silly because I will remember very little of the material, knowing me.

In addition, having read the last chapter and the introduction, I'm even mildly fascinated by Ibn B
Rezky Ramadiansyah
Oke, yang gue baca covernya agak beda (lebih baru), tapi penerbitnya sama (Obor) jadi asumsikan sama aja lah ya.
Secara konten sangat menarik (sejarah + agama, kombinasi favorit pribadi) tapi terjemahannya terlalu kasar.
Kadang ada makna/ungkapan yang jadinya garing gara-gara diterjemahin mentah-mentah sama translatornya.
Mungkin lebih oke kalau baca versi originalnya.
Karena kurang enak dibaca terjemahannya (IMHO), akhirnya bacanya skip-skip aja ke bab-bab tertentu, jadi mohon maaf untuk rating yan
Kevin Bensema
Jan 23, 2012 Kevin Bensema rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Ross Dunn presents an absolutely fascinating window into the Muslim world of the 14th century through a novel-esque retelling of Ibn Battuta's travel journals. While Ibn Battuta struck me as something of a jerk, his travels throughout the Muslim world were fascinating. Islam may have spread West by the sword, but it spread East by the trading-ship. The legal scholar from Western Africa follows trade routes from Morocco to the Middle East to India and possibly beyond, finally returning home to wr ...more
Aug 09, 2012 Ingrid rated it it was ok
I had expected to thoroughly enjoy this book as I find Ibn Battuta to be very interesting. However, the author did not use excerpts from Ibn Battuta's travel journals very well and Ibn Battuta came across as a rather annoying story-teller/traveler, which took away from what could have been a fascinating read. Dunn also failed to truly explain why Ibn Battuta's travel narratives may or may not be true.
Mar 03, 2014 Brian rated it really liked it
Although this is the sory of Ibn Battuta's journey through the Muslim world of the 14th century, it is Ross E. Dunn's telling of Battuta's The Rihla. This was a very detailed retelling but, I would actually be more interested in reading The Rihla itself. It may be something I investigate for myself in the future. I highly recommend this book, though. Great read.
Aug 27, 2009 John rated it it was amazing
A truly amazing story when taken in the context of the culture and time of the adventure. Ibn Battuta starts and ends in Northern Morocco, and travels further than Marco Polo through Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, India, China, and the south Pacific. His travels through Moorish Andalucia are the most familiar part of the book to me. Highly recommended.
Apr 11, 2008 Nicholas rated it it was amazing
I took a World History survey course as a sophomore in college and this was the textbook. Really opens your eyes to society and culture in the ancient world. We're so used to learning the Western tradition in our educational system that to see the world from a Muslim's perspective was enlightening, especially with the emphasis on Asia and Africa.
Feb 09, 2007 ryan rated it really liked it
Like the travels of Marco Polo, but better, as this account isn't nearly as biased and explains much more of the history of the areas this constant traveller visited. Thats not to say that Ibn Battuta himself wasn't as ignorant as Polo was; just that, thankfully, he didn't write his own book or have someone of his time write one for him.
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