Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World” as Want to Read:
This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  326 ratings  ·  78 reviews
'Fabulous, timely, a marvellous achievement' Spectator

'A richly resonant work which recasts our understanding of the Elizabethan era' Daily Telegraph

In 1570, after plots and assassination attempts against her, Elizabeth I was excommunicated by the Pope. It was the beginning of cultural, economic and political exchanges with the Islamic world of a depth not again experience
...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 2nd 2017 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published March 24th 2016)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about This Orient Isle, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about This Orient Isle

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  326 ratings  ·  78 reviews


Filter
 | 
Sort order
Jason Koivu
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
If you hadn't heard, America and the Islamic world haven't been getting along too well lately. Whenever something like that happens it makes me want to learn more about "the other side," whatever that may entail. So, with that in mind, I recently read The Sultan and the Queen.

I was quite unaware of the connection between Elizabethan England and Islam. I suppose if I were English, reading Jerry Brotton's book would feel like opening a door to a backyard you didn't know existed.

The setting is thi
...more
Bettie☯


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b074w30m

Description: Professor Jerry Brotton, one of the UK's leading experts on cultural exchange, examines Queen Elizabeth I's fascination with the Orient. He shows that England's relations with the Muslim world were far more extensive, and often more amicable, than we have ever appreciated, and that their influence was felt across the political, commercial and domestic landscape of Elizabethan England.

Derek Jacobi reads the captivating account of how Britain se
...more
Domhnall
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Through the long reign of Elizabeth I, Protestant England was isolated in Europe and needed economic and military help to survive the powerful enmity of Catholic Europe - especially the Spain of Philip II. To achieve some balance of power, Elizabeth took advantage of an evolving trade with Islamic powers (Ottomans, Moroccans, even Persians) to secure a limited level of collaboration against the common enemy - Spain. Both trade and diplomacy provide the setting for colourful and highly entertaini ...more
Yelda Basar Moers
I would LOVE it if historians would drop the expression the "Clash of Civilizations." All it does is create division and this relatively new release debunks this expression anyhow.

The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam gives new light on the relationship between Islam and the West and what historians call the "Clash of Civilizations." Sultan Murad III, a 16th Century Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and yes "the" Golden Age Queen Elizabeth I of England corresponded about
...more
Carlos
Oct 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was basically a recount of all of Elizabeth’s attempts to create a trading relation with the Islamic powers of her age (the ottomans, the Moroccans and the Persians) , after finding herself shut out of Continental Europe because of her Protestantism , all along the books we’ll find some quirky characters that attempted to create such a relationship with various degrees of success, the narrative was boring and I had a hard time following along with the format , and also towards the end ...more
Julie Bozza
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julie by: Bryn Hammond
I wish I could escape the irony of reviewing this book on such a day, but I can't. It wouldn't be honest. Today weighs heavy on me: a day on which it became clear that a slight majority of the British people voted for isolation / independence from Europe.

This Orient Isle is about a time when Protestant England was isolated from Catholic Europe. Elizabeth and her people turned to trading with, and developing political relationships with, the Islamic world. This is a part of history that is usual
...more
Lisa
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really interesting, if a bit dense—the author used a large number (and wide variety) of primary source materials and wading through the 16th-century verbiage took a little time. But worth it, I think, for a very vivid and far-reaching picture of all the political vicissitudes of the time.

LJ review on the way.
Laura
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:
Professor Jerry Brotton, one of the UK's leading experts on cultural exchange, examines Queen Elizabeth I's fascination with the Orient. He shows that England's relations with the Muslim world were far more extensive, and often more amicable, than we have ever appreciated, and that their influence was felt across the political, commercial and domestic landscape of Elizabethan England.

Derek Jacobi reads the captivating account of how Britain sent ships, treatie
...more
RK
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An ambitious book in terms of what it set out to do. The font was small and this took almost five months (with frequent travel) to complete.

Still, I enjoyed the interpretations of Shakespeare.

I agree with the reviewers who raise the Brexit analogy.

If Elizabethan England could overlook differences in terms of seeking out new markets with which to trade, then -hello - what degree of weirdness brought aboutBrexit?

On prosperity, even the Elizabethans got it more right!
Jenny GB
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway
I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaways.

Once I saw the title, I thought this book would be fascinating! It details the relationship between England and the Middle East during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The relationship reaches its height during her life and ends quickly after her death. During her reign, England becomes involved in commerce and politics with both the Ottoman Empire and the Persian Empire. The story of various characters that make these contacts a
...more
Wanda
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Laura and Bettie
Shelves: 2016, bbc
26 MAR 2016 - joining the Ladies.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b074w30m
Mark
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent history: the sort we weren't taught at school. How Queen Elizabeth I forged trading alliances with Morocco and the Ottoman Empire (cloth for sugar) - and how those racial Islamic stereotypes ('the Moor') made their way onto the Elizabethan stage,(Tamburlaine,Othello). England needed these alliances to try and contain the Spanish,who Drake failed to see off after the Armada. Flagwavers,take note.
Anwer
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book highlighting the extent of the contact between Elizabethan England and the Ottomans, well set in the background is the relevance of Shakespeare's plays which drew heavily on the characters and events of this period. While perhaps distracting it set the stage to understand better plays like Othello and The Merchant of Venice.

A good read...
Sajith Kumar
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century was a defining moment in the history of England. Henry VIII’s adoption of the faith which the popish clergy termed as apostasy forced the country’s destiny to diverge from that of continental Europe where Pope’s writ reigned supreme. The catholic world devised all means in their power to browbeat England away from Protestantism. However, Queen Elizabeth I turned into a bulwark of national pride and prestige. Her subjects boldly stood behind their m ...more
Edith
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A fascinating account. I had had no idea of the degree of communication between the English queen and her nation and the rulers of north Africa and the Ottoman Empire. The period of Elizabeth's reign was not only full of constant warfare between and among Protestant, Catholic, and Muslim entities, but a period of new economic ideas and the opening of new trading partnerships as well. The complications of her relationships with those of different faiths--ones with whom theoretically she was entir ...more
Emmanuel Gustin
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
In this book, Jerry Brotton pursues two parallel tracks to describe the relationship between the England of Elizabeth I and the muslim states of the Mediterranean. In the first, he tells us about the travellers, those who went there to experience it for themselves. In the second, he tells us about the men who imagined the east, with a focus on the playwrights who brought it to the stage, especially (of course) William Shakespeare. It was a good idea that did not work very well in practice, becau ...more
Moneeb
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could have given a 4.5 star rating but the system does not allow for that. A fascinating read that combines between the author's engaging style that takes you back to Elizabethan England and the absorbing account of the key political and commercial alliance of the Protestant England and the Moroccan Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire. It seems that learning this part of history gives one the appreciation of the influence of the Muslim culture and Muslims over the English people. Not only wo ...more
Dana DesJardins
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is fascinating, though it regularly gets bogged down in details. It includes back stories for Shakespeare plays, the tale of the English mechanic sent to rebuild an animated clock, who was given a rare glimpse of the harem, and the gossip that Queen Elizabeth's teeth were blackened by a lifetime of eating Turkish sugar.
Brotton's mission is not just to inform and amuse, however. He writes in his conclusion: "Now, when much is made of the 'clash of civilizations' between Islam and Chris
...more
Mystica
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Elizabeth I was always a women to be reckoned with. She would done very well in the present times, ruthlessly deciding what was best for her country and her country alone. At the time, she was fiercely loyal to her country and decided that any decision she took was vital for the development of England alone.

Having been excommunicated from the Catholic Church, she was now in a predicament how to maintain her trade links and more than maintain, how to further develop them with the Sultan's Empire.
...more
Noor Saadeh
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: partial-read
Amazing how anything, especially anything historically accurate or positive even jist plain factual related to Islam gets hidden quite well. Thank goodness for the ever widening arms of technology that enable us to see clearly if we want to. Fascinating account with a whole different perspective on super powers of their day, their influence and interactions with the West. So much of our histories are interwoven and ideas, discoveries and trends shared. Helps to give a much different perspective ...more
Johns
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A page-turner about remarkable events in the long reign of Queen Elizabeth I over 400 years ago.

We often fall back on our high school world history class when the subject of this Tudor monarch is broached. What more do we need to know about good Queen Bess anyway, right? Well, plenty! When she was cut loose by a papal excummunication in 1570, there were more practical effects than "just" things spiritual for her Majesty. Pope Pius V's expulsion effectively sealed off continental Europe from fur
...more
Jonathan Page
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brotton has made the medieval world even smaller. The Sultan and the Queen details a nearly 20 year relationship which existed between the Muslim nations of the Middle East and Elizabethan England. This story has a gallery of many widely colorful characters from Queen Elizabeth herself to Ottoman Sultan Murad II, Sir Francis Drake, Tsar Boris, Morrocan King al-Mansur and even playwright William Shakespear. The book details how England approached the Ottomans amid an effort to counter Catholic Eu ...more
Ridzwan
Towards the late 1500s, England found itself ostracised from the rest of Europe, and was facing the imminent threat of an invasion from the Spanish Armada. Realising the predicament she's in, Elizabeth I of England made secret outreach attempts to the Muslim world, and formed an unprecedented military alliance with the fratricidal Ottoman sultan, Murad III. These efforts ultimately paved the way for England's transformation into a global commercial and military power.

By examining a series of cor
...more
Isabela
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It made me realize how much stupid trouble, confusion, ignorance, abuse and suffering the world's leading religions have caused. It made me want to read about Marco Polo. It made me want to read Shakespeare. It made me wish I had learned more history earlier, but it's never too late to educate myself. It made me realize how much more advanced the Arabs were than Europeans at that time and, made me wonder how much better our world would be today had we been more open-minded and respectful of diff ...more
Abdullah Alqasir
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-buy
الكتاب يحكي بتفصيل عن أوائل العلاقة بين بريطانيا للبروتستانتية والعالم المسلم. الكتاب مليء بالتفاصيل عن حياك ومغامرات الرواد الإنجليز في العالم الاسلامي، بين عامي ١٥٥٠م و ١٦١٠م. العلاقة بين الإنجليز والعالم الاسلامي بدأت بتجار مغامرين وباحثين عن فرص بالشرق الغني، ليتبعهم السفراء والقراصنة والمخادعين، من الامبراطورية الصفوية إلى العثمانيين وحتى الملوك السعديين في المغرب.
المؤلف يملك كم هائل من المعلومات وقدرة على التحليل عميقة. يقرن المؤلف الأحداث التاريخية لهذه العلاقة مع الأدب الانجليزي المكتوب
...more
Joe Schrock
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have made it 5 Stars since the material covers areas barely covered in most history books. However I felt the second half of the book covering too many plays and not enough actual history or thoughts of the main players, and often was interspersed in a less than helpful way. The other flaw is even the title describes the book as Queen Elizabeth’s relationship it rarely actually talks about how she actually felt/thought except for a few quoted letters. Most of the book is about various in ...more
Grof
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first chapters were a yawn fest since it tries to explain events leading to the development of both Elizabethan England and the Islamic world. For non-historians or people that are not familiar with the basic information it will be interesting.

The real part of the book starts with the English merchants travelling to Persian and Ottoman lands seeking alliances against the Catholic rulers of Europe. It is quite interesting to see how the first Englishmen saw this vastly different world and how
...more
Marjorie
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very interesting study of trade and political links between Elizabethan England, and the Islamic world, which also looks at how Islam and Muslims were portrayed in art and literature of the time (and how those portrayals would have been perceived by the audiences of their day.

As well as illuminating an area of history I was unfamiliar with, I was fascinated by the additional context it gives to, for instance, some of Shakespeare's works.

And despite the length of time it took me to finish it, it
...more
Fern
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting narrative of little examined aspect of Elizabethan history. Puts in perspective the traditional nationalist narrative of Tudor power, reminding one of the tenuous position of Protestant England at a time of Catholic power on the continent. Very necessary perspective in this age of Islamophobia and a reminder of how Western ignorance of the intricacies of Islamic societies can backfire on them.
Bill Suits
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is excellent. It is a very interesting point of history that is not discussed another texts. I would've given it five stars but the only issue is that he goes into depth about the London theater, particularly about some of Shakespeare's plays, which I did not really enjoy. I am not a fan of Shakespeare so most of it is very foreign to me. Otherwise I completely recommend us and I think it is an excellent reading to find out how Elizabeth dealt with isolation.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Julfa and the Arm...: This Orient Isle 1 2 Jan 09, 2017 12:34AM  
  • Constantinople
  • Birth, Marriage, and Death: Ritual, Religion, and the Life Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England
  • The Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature
  • The Wilder Shores of Love
  • The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire
  • The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire
  • Empress of the East: How a European Slave Girl Became Queen of the Ottoman Empire
  • The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe
  • Shakespeare's Restless World: A Portrait of an Era in Twenty Objects
  • Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare
  • The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor: Elizabeth I, Thomas Seymour, and the Making of a Virgin Queen
  • Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors: Faith, Power, and Violence in the Age of Crusade and Jihad
  • Elizabeth's Rival: The Tumultuous Life of the Countess of Leicester: The Romance and Conspiracy that Threatened Queen Elizabeth's Court
  • Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism
  • Subjects of the Sultan: Culture and Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire
  • Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924
  • The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State
  • The Lords Of The Golden Horn: From Suleiman The Magnificent To Kamal Ataturk