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Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes

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4.36  ·  Rating details ·  6,122 ratings  ·  774 reviews
We in the west share a common narrative of world history. But our story largely omits a whole civilization whose citizens shared an entirely different narrative for a thousand years.In Destiny Disrupted, Tamim Ansary tells the rich story of world history as the Islamic world saw it, from the time of Mohammed to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and beyond. He clarifies why ou ...more
Paperback, 390 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by PublicAffairs (first published April 28th 2009)
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Mark Owen The biggest proof I have found that it is authentic is that - in the years since I read it - nothing that has happened in the Middle East has come as…moreThe biggest proof I have found that it is authentic is that - in the years since I read it - nothing that has happened in the Middle East has come as a big surprise to me. I no longer watch and think "what the #$*& are they thinking?" What is happening makes sense through their eyes - doesn't make it right - but it at least has a kind of logic. I consider myself well read, but learned a lot from this book and it was fascinating to read. (less)
Josh Yes, basically every book ever written by a European or American historian.

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Paul Bryant
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Westerners

Right time, right place, right style, this is 100% recommended.

This is vast but fast history : you have to hang on to your hat, or whatever you hang on to, which might not be a hat, since the kind of hats which a strong wind might snatch from your head are rarely worn today. In this book a lot of obscure places and people go rushing by, like a speeded up film, like a boiling river. Obscure to a Western reader, that is, but I’m going to hazard that Transoxiana, Khorasan, Ctesiphon, and the exact
...more
Grace Tjan

Being neither Muslim nor Western, but nevertheless a citizen of what CNN and other Western media regularly dub “the world’s largest Muslim nation*”, I often feel baffled by the so-called “clash of civilizations” between these two entities. And lately, not just baffled, but also profoundly disturbed by the scale and frequency of sectarian violence in my country, the majority of which allegedly perpetrated by those the author of this book calls “jihadists”. The overwhelming majority of Indonesians
...more
David
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Umayyads, Abassids, Ottomans, Wahabbists, Kamalists, and Great Satans
History books are frequently dry and factual, even when not written as textbooks, and when they're not, they tend to reveal the author's biases or axes to grind. Tamim Ansary, however, sets out to tell the history of Islam through Islamic eyes, not as an apologetic for Islam that ignores its less edifying historical episodes and its troubled present, nor as a Westerner viewing Islam as, at best, an exotically misunderstood Oriental tradition, and at worst, the religion of terrorists and oppresse ...more
Mike
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is an excellent exploration of not just Islamic history (dates, names, events, etc.), but also provides a fascinating insight into cultural forces of Islam. Speaking as someone with a pretty good knowledge base I can honestly say I learned a great deal from this book (beyond never accepting a dinner invitation from the Abbasids) and viewed history in a different light. Ansary rightly points out that Islamic history, one where Islamic cultures were much more advanced that European socie ...more
John
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to recommend the unabridged audio version, as read by the author. The man's a giften historian in that he's able to tell an informed and accessible story both in writing and by voice. This book fits neatly as a grand narrative of Islam and helps to set contemporary events and worldviews into a historical context. I'd call it scholarly light, emphasizing the story over analytical details, and helps stitch more focused books into a larger picture most westerners are unfamiliar with.
Summer Brennan
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
First, a disclaimer: I have a Master's degree in Middle Eastern studies, and come to this subject weighted down by the suitcases of multiple theories and interpretations that advanced degrees tend to confer. However. I have long wanted to find a book that I could recommend to people (by which I mean friends, family and non-specialized colleagues) as "the book" for those wishing to understand "the Middle East," by which I and they usually mean: to understand the historical context of modern event ...more
Lauren
"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." -Tamim Ansary in Destiny Disrupted.

History has long been my favorite subject. I loved it in primary school, all the way through choosing to dig in more with graduate studies. History of just about any time, any region, any macro or micro subject. But let's be honest - sometimes the way that hist
...more
Jimmy
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Things happen, seemingly for a reason. But often I feel in the dark about these reasons. Often I feel like I'm only getting one tiny slice of the truth, the one that's most convenient and easily accessible to me, given my upbringing, my background, my experiences. Turning to the news won't help. The news only focuses on surface events, "the things that are happening are happening!" it proclaims in bold headlines. But how do I begin to understand the forces behind them? What we need is the news w ...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is an absolutely fantastic book: an engaging, readable, at times even exciting primer on the history of the Muslim world, and world history as Muslims understand it. The author, a former textbook developer, clearly knows his stuff, but his genius is in the ability to draw many historical elements together to turn world history into a cohesive narrative that makes sense and that you might actually want to read. The writing style is engaging, though in no way dumbed-down – and yet while not r ...more
·Karen·
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
World history from the Islamic point of view, yes, but written very much with the Western reader in mind, which is fair enough, presumably Middle Worlders don't need this kind of broadstroke overview. Ansary uses analogies with concepts that will be familiar to his audience in order to make things clearer and more easily digestible: for example when describing the gap left by the death of Mohammed, he points out that when a saint dies, you can't just appoint a new one in his place, and on the ot ...more
J.S. Bangs
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

World History, says Tamim Ansary in his introduction, is always the story about how we got to be where we are. It therefore always includes an implicit notion of who "we" are, and what our current place in the history of the world is.


Most people with a basic college education feel that they know how history works. First there was the ancient world, from whose murky depths emerged the cultural brilliance of the Greeks and the political might of the Romans. Then the Roman Empire fell, plunging the

...more
Nurul Suhadah
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tema pembacaan saya untuk bulan Ogos dan September ini adalah berkisar tentang sejarah dunia dan juga sejarah Sepanyol atau Andalusia. Persediaan untuk musafir dalam bulan Oktober nanti insyaAllah. Setelah bulan Julai, sistem pembacaan saya sedikit terganggu dan juga boleh dikatakan ‘ke laut’, hilang fokus dan keghairahan.

Ketika saya mencari-cari buku yang saya mahu telaah tentang sejarah dunia, ada beberapa rakan mencadangkan kepada saya buku ini, “Destiny Destrupted” tulisan Tamim Ansary. Saya
...more
Kim
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: non-fiction
I do not think it would be a stretch to say that this book has changed my world view. A history of the world through Islamic eyes, it describes the kingdoms of Asia Minor and Persia chronologically, covering several I had literally never heard of, and explaining the various sects and rifts of Islam in a way that is engaging, memorable, highly readable, and fascinating. One learns why the Abbasids and the Fatimids split, why they are named what they are named, what the Caliphate really is, how lu ...more
Willowwind
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ansary is a remarkable story teller in the best sense of the word. Few Americans are sufficiently conversant with the history of the West, let alone Islam. Ansary takes us through the birth and decline of one of humanities most brilliant civilizations from an Islamic point of view, explaining why that culture sees things differently than the industrial west does. He also shows how the seeds of current conflict in the Middle East were sown not only by differing ideas about the world but by the ac ...more
Sabbir Taher
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
এই বইয়ের রিভিউয়ের আগে লেখকের এই বই লেখার পরেকষাপটটা বলা দরকার।

২০০০ সালে-৯/১১ এর মাতর এক বছর আগে-লেখকের দায়িতব পড়ে টেকসাসের এক সকুল পাবলিকেশনের জনয আপডেটেড একটা বিশব ইতিহাসের পাঠযবই সমপাদনার।অনেক টরায়াল,মতামত নিরীকষার পর ৩০ অধযায়ের একটা পাঠযবই সমপাদিতও হয়।৯/১১ এর আগে ইসলাম বা ইন জেনারেল মুসলিমদের নিয়ে আগরহটা পশচিমাদের কেমন ছিল তখন? সেই পাঠযবইয়ের মাতর ১টা অধযায় জুড়ে ছিল ইসলাম,যেখানে আবার যুকত ছিল অনয আরো ২টা যুগ/সামরাজযের কথাও। ৯/১১ এর পরে পুরা পরিবরতিত হয় ইসলাম বা মুসলিমদের নিয়ে পশচিমাদের এই আগরহ
...more
Thomas
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history
Not a bad primer for people who know very little to nothing about Islamic history. Quite good.

When I got this book I had an idea that I would gain some insight into world history as seen through Islamic eyes. I guess I got a little of that, but mostly it was a quick trip through a very vast subject. We, for instance, got to see what was happening in the Arab world when the Crusaders showed up; things like that. There was a lot of glaring omissions, though. The wealthy, gold-rich Islamic kingdoms
...more
Ulfah
Sep 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
So let me write here, first and foremost, if you’d like to understand a more thorough understanding of our world’s history unfolding during the last 15 centuries, please do try to read this book. Having been born Indonesian and spent some time in Europe, makes me question a lot of things, seeing the insights of both culture, and from time to time trying to understand why Indonesians or maybe Indonesian muslims view the Western world as it is, and why the Europeans view the muslim world as it is. ...more
Alliyah
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It took me over a month but I FINALLY finished Tamim Ansary's fantastic global history, Destiny Disrupted. It is undoubtedly a 5/5 read for me. I haven't read much history outside of the western canon so Ansary's simple, accessible and pleasant writing style was perfect for someone with little knowledge of such a vast and complicated history.

If you are at all interested in reading about the rise and fall of the Muslim world from the 7th century to the 21st, I wholeheartedly recommend Destiny Di
...more
Asim Qureshi
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: islam
I was patient with this book, in terms of trying to figure out when this moment of 'a history of the world through Islamic eyes' would emerge, but it never did. Unlike books that have attempted to provide an eastern account of history, such as Amin Maaloouf's 'The Crusades Through Arab Eyes' or Carole Hillenbrand's 'The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives', what Ansary does is to provide a largely western liberal account of an eastern-centric history - it almost makes no difference that Ansary is ori ...more
E
May 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics-history
Knowing about as little about the history of the Middle World (a.k.a., Middle East to Westerners) as one can, this book offered a tremendously satisfying overview, striking the ideal balance between summary and detail, objective reporting and critical analysis. Gently derisive of both Western and Muslim prejudices and dogma, Ansary presents himself as a trustworthy guide, unafraid to critique the culture of his forebearers but refusing to betray it or declare allegiance to another. Of course, an ...more
Khairul Hezry
Jan 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
In this compact volume encompassing roughly 1400 years of history, Tamim Ansary explains to us in layman's terms what Islam stands for, its rise, slight decline and resurgence today. I'm Muslim and even I never really understood some things like the schism between Shi'a and Sunni and how a culture that produced so many pioneers in mathematics, astronomy, medicine and other sciences is seen today by some as backward and anti-knowledge. This book explains it all and explains in a very interesting, ...more
RK-ïsme
If you're into popular histories...If you don't mind having numerous historical errors in your histories...If you don't really have a solid historical background... read this book. I'm sure something of what I read is useful. I'll just have to find out what. Looking at the high praise coming from others for this book, I can only feel my sense of alienation deepen.

I shall cleanse my palette by reading some Charles Taylor
Alice ✨
This should be mandatory reading for anyone, anywhere. Wish I could meet Tamim Ansary and thank him in person for writing this.
Helman Taofani
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Apa jadinya bila tentara Muslim kalah di Yarmuk? Kerjaan Byzantium akan bercokol, cendekia tak bertumbuh, dan abad kegelapan Eropa akan berjalan lebih lama.

Ujaran tentang kepakan kupu-kupu yang menuai badai adalah fondasi kuat filsafat chaos (kaos) yang marak di era modern. Intinya, itu adalah runutan panjang dari hukum kausalitas yang tidak melihat variabel sebatas a dan b, tapi juga dampak panjang. Kajian ini marak sebagai sebuah langkah preventif, dan juga evaluatif. Di bidang sejarah, hal se
...more
Gary Hoggatt
I'm a major history buff. However, I'll freely admit to having done much more reading in American history than other topics. For example, I've read more biographies of George Washington than I have histories on Asia and the Middle East combined (unless maybe you give me partial credit for Japan and World War II). And, while such a trend is unlikely to change completely, I have started making some effort to branch out. An early pick for this effort was Tamim Ansary's 2009 Destiny Disrupted: A His ...more
Siria
Destiny Disrupted is a lively, engaging introduction to world history from the perspective of the 'Middle World'—Western and Central Asia, the birthplace of Islam. It's not an academic work or a textbook, and covering such a vast swathe of history in about 400 pages means that Ansary inevitably has to gloss over some details. Yet he still manages to impressively synthesise a lot of material here into a narrative which gives the reader a sense of the broad arc of history from a Muslim/non-Western ...more
Antxon Maguregui
Un libro muy recomendable. El autor, historiador estadounidense de origen afgano, ha colaborado en la redacción de libros de historia escolares.
El libro es una síntesis de gran parte de las civilizaciones musulamas y sus relaciones con otras, desde el origen del Islam hasta el 11-S. La mayor aportación de este libro es que intenta exponer una visión alternativa de la historia, según sus propias categorías, división en épocas, etc. El capítulo final es una reflexión final del autor sobre lo que p
...more
Michael Perkins
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Best one-volume history of Islam I have found. The author is a Muslim, born in Afghanistan, and is a recognized expert on the history of Islam. This is a sympathetic treatment and thoroughly honest one that includes the origins of Jihad and Sharia Law, as part of his larger narrative. Recommended by Dave Eggers among others.
Kamalia Ramlan
Mahu mengetahui secara pantas tentang sejarah dunia dari era Mesopotamia hinggalah ke peristiwa 9/11. inilah bukunya. Bahasanya mudah dan santai semacam membaca buku cerita. Yang paling penting, Tamim Ansary tidak bias dalam memberi fakta-faktanya baik daripada pihak bukan Islam atau pada pihak Islam
John
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thorough overview of Islamic history made approachable to outsiders. I'm withholding the fifth star as the post 9/11 section seemed to leave the book fizzling out, as though the author didn't want to "go there" with actual analysis.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: destiny diverted 1 8 Jun 27, 2012 08:55AM  

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Mir Tamim Ansary is an Afghan-American author and public speaker. Ansary gained prominence in 2001 after he penned a widely circulated e-mail that denounced the Taliban and called on the United States to bring political change to Afghanistan. The e-mail was a response to a call to bomb Afghanistan "into the Stone Age." His book West of Kabul, East of New York published shortly after the September ...more
“Here are two enormous worlds side by side; what's remarkable is how little notice they have taken of each other. If the Western and Islamic worlds were two individual human beings, we might see symptoms of repression here. We might ask, "What happened between these two? Were they lovers once? Is there some history of abuse?” 7 likes
“One side charges, 'You are decadent.' The other side retorts, 'We are free.' These are not opposing contentions; they're nonsequiturs.” 7 likes
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