In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands [Hardcover]

Martin Gilbert
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition --  
Hardcover --  
Paperback CDN $15.16  
Join Amazon Student in Canada


Book Description

Aug. 24 2010
From one of the most popular historians writing today comes a book as fascinating as the bestsellers of Karen Armstrong and Reza Aslan.

In this captivating chronicle, Martin Gilbert shines new light on a controversial dilemma in the modern world: the troubled relationship between Jews and Muslims. Beginning at the dawn of Islam and sweeping from the Atlantic Ocean to the mountains of Afghanistan, Gilbert presents the first popular and authoritative history of Jewish peoples under Muslim rule. He confronts with wisdom and compassion the stormy events in their dramatic story, including anti-Zionist movements and the forced exodus to Israel. He also gives special attention to the twentieth century and to the current political debate about refugee status and restitution.

Throughout, Gilbert weaves a compelling narrative of perseverance, struggle, and renewal marked by surprising moments of tolerance and partnership. A monumental and timely book, Jews under Muslim Rule is a crowning achievement that confirms Martin Gilbert as one of the foremost historians of our time.

Product Details


Product Description

Review

"This is a book for those who want on their shelf, ready to hand, the facts on the Jews in Muslim lands, from the days of Mohammad himself, a vivid chapter as related here, to the Arab-Israel conflict of the present day. With Sir Martin Gilbert's excellent maps and clear readable prose, this saga is both a reliable source and a pleasure to read."
— Herman Wouk

"In this epic examination, celebrated historian Gilbert (the six-volume biography of Winston Churchill) explores the evolution of Judaism and Islam. . . . .with a comprehensive yet accessible approach." 
— Publishers Weekly

"Sir Martin Gilbert's In Ishmael's House, perhaps for the first time, makes accessible to a mass readership the neglected history of Jews in Muslim lands, from Afghanistan to Morocco." 
— The JC.com

"[This book's] account of the slow-burning tragedy of the extinction of Jewish communities in the Arab world is moving and important. It should be read." 
— The Independent

About the Author

SIR MARTIN GILBERT is the author of eighty-two books. He is Winston Churchill's official biographer and a leading historian of the modern world. In 1995 he was knighted "for services to British history and international relations," and in 1999 he was awarded a Doctorate of Literature by the University of Oxford for the totality of his published work. In 2009 he was made a Privy Councillor (as The Rt. Hon. Sir Martin Gilbert) and a member of the British Government's Iraq War Inquiry. He lives in London, England, with his wife Esther.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written Historical account Dec 16 2010
By Reuven
Format:Hardcover
This historical view of the Jews living amoungst muslim is written fantastically well. I couldn't put the book down. The history of these Jews is not well known and very rarely covered so accurately. We are given an overview of Jewish life in syria, morrocco, egypt and yemen all in relation to the changes in world history such as the holocaust and the formation of the state of Israel. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know why all Jews of Muslim lands eventually felt the need to migrate to israel.
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Mark Anderson TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Anything Sir Martin Gilbert writes is worth reading and this book is no exception.

This a well written, well researched and well balanced history of the treatment of Jewish communities in Muslim countries. It shows there were periods of toleration and protection of Jews by Muslim rulers, albeit under dhimmi status, amid more numerous periods of persecution and repression.

One interesting historical trend well illustrated in the book is how the rise of Zionism in the 19th century brought about increased persecution of Jews in Muslim countries. Following the creation of Israel in 1948 Jews were essentially harassed into leaving many Muslim countries, ususally having to forfeit their money and property when they left. Jewish communities that had existed for millenia in countries like Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, among others, disintegrated as Jews fled to Israel, Europe and North America to escape the persecution in these countries.

In short, this is a very interesting book. After reading this I can say with certainty that I would not want to be a Jew, or a Christian, living in a Muslim country.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read! May 16 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent, well-researched, well--written. A must-read for anyone seriously interested in Middle East history. I will certainly recommend this book to my friends and associates.
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars It may soon be Our House April 12 2012
By David M. Goldberg TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am well aware of the author's formidable reputation, although I have never before read any of his 82 books. To be blunt, I am not greatly tempted to read much more of his work after ploughing my way through the present text. It may be aberrantly unrepresentative of the author's usual style, but it is badly written and suffers from organizational problems that a competent editor should have detected and corrected. To begin with, the facts are not in dispute, as they are tediously referenced to the point of satisfying the most stringent PhD examination committee. Nor is the author's balance of judgement impeachable; nothing in the narrative would support the slightest charge of bias despite his proud relationship to the guests in Ishmael's abode. It is a work of immense scholarship, but one cannot escape the feeling that it is written by scholars for scholars. I use the plural for authorship with some conjecture, but there is nothing abnormal in a major academic figure using the efforts of students and trainees in data-gathering, and it is inconceivable that anyone could write 82 books on profound historical topics without such assistance. What strikes me is that information from many sources has been patched together to create the whole. Nothing wrong with that, as long as the stitching doesn't spoil the integrated appearance, but alas, that is precisely what has happened here, and Sir Martin must assume responsibility for this unfortunate outcome. This has resulted in unexpected reappearance of the same or similar passages in later chapters. The information presented at the end of one is sometimes repeated at the beginning of the next, as if the two were the texts of different lectures on different days, and the audience (or reader) requires reinforcement. Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
79 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Revealing - An Essential Read Sept. 17 2010
By L. King - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Sir Martin Gilbert has created a master work and generational touchstone on the history of Jewish/Muslim relations from the time of Muhammed to the present day. The flowing narrative consolidates a wide range of reference material including books by Mark Cohen, Gotein,Hitti, Hourani, Levin, Lewis ,Satloff, Shulewitz, Stillman, Troper (and many others), historical archives, government documents and the author's personal interviews and correspondence with members of the Oriental Jewish community.

The book begins with how Jews came to live in Arabia, Persia and North Africa and continues with the life of the Prophet leading to the seminal Jewish defeat and subjugation at Khaybar which is still invoked by Hamas, Hiz b'Allah and others to this day. He describes the strictures on dhimmi life imposed by the Pact of Umar which was likely codified in the early 8th century. Once under the established dominance of Islam Jewish life was able to flourish and acquire a degree of protection.

This golden age ended under Almohed persecution in Spain, repression in Yemen and the Mameluks of Egypt (1250-1516) who enforced dhimmi regulations with rigor. Yet Jewish poetry and culture was admired and encouraged in Shiraz and in the Cairo massacre of Christian Copts of 1343, Jews lent Christians their own discriminatory garments which deceived the mob and kept them safe. In 1561 under the Ottomans, the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent gave a land grant of seven villages around Tiberea in perpetuity as a Jewish principality, predating modern Zionism by 300 years.

The middle section of the book focuses on the periods from the 1800s up until the establishment of Israel in 1948. Contrary to the myth that Jews and Arabs coexisted happily together throughout time. Chapter 7 relates a number of references to the quality of Jewish life, among them (pp104) a quote by William Tanner Young, British Vice Consul in Jerusalem in 1839: "The Jew in Jerusalem is not estimated in value much above a dog - and scarcely a day passes that I do not hear of some act of tyranny and oppression against a Jew"; "A Moslem's right to harass a Jew was taken for granted; it would not have occurred to the victim to react or report the matter to police" (pp169, Mordecai Ben Porat, on Jewish life in Baghdad in the 1930s).

Ch. 15-20 considers the post 1948 unjust surveillance, dispossession, imprisonment, attacks, murders and flight of Jews from Arab lands. Recall the threatening words of chief Egyptian UN delegate Heykal Pasha to UN on Nov 14, 1947 who said "the lives of one million Jews in Moslem countries would be jeopardized by Partition... it might be responsible for very grave disorders and for the massacre of the large number of Jews." (pp209). Similar words were uttered by the representative of the Palestinian Arab Higher Committee, a close relative of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al Husseini. This indeed was the unacceptable reaction of Arab leadership and popular response to the defeat of their campaign against Israel's Jews and failure to reestablish their dhimmi status.

Gilbert does not focus solely on the negative. For example he points out that while popular opinion grew against Jews in the hinterland, forcing a migration to the cities, Jews enjoyed support of the Sultan of Morocco, a story more or less repeated in Tunisia where Jews eventually concentrated on the island of Djerba. Whereas Iran under Reza Shah turned more towards Nazi Germany, his son Shah Reza Pahlevi was more favourably inclined. In the early 1950s Arab Iranians drove anti-Jewish sentiments but the government refused to join in. When anti-Jewish riots broke out in Iranian Kurdistan the government extended protection to Jews who wanted to move to Tehran or Israel. Things became worse when the Shah's government fell to the Ayatollah, as they did for other non-Muslim minorities. The book ends with a chapter which brings us to up to the events of March 2009.

Can I recommend this book? Yes and yes and yes again! This review is merely an brief synopsis that I hope it encourages you to buy the book, gift it, keep it as a reference and place it prominently on your shelf. There is a much greater wealth of material inside. It should be part of the curriculum of every program of Jewish or Middle Eastern studies. If they have yet to order it ask your local public, church, mosque, college library to add a copy or two to their collection. It complements the Ashkenazic and Israeli narratives, which are well sourced elsewhere, and hopefully will be the basis of spurring further explorations of this kind, not only of the Jewish experience under Islam but also that of other minority communities from Armenians to Zoroastrians. Middle Eastern Muslims, peace be upon them, would also (I hope) greatly benefit by employing this book as a mirror to see how they are viewed by others.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of a too often ignored history Jan. 30 2011
By Jew from Egypt - Published on Amazon.com
The history of Jews in the Arab world is very long and detailed. However, Gilbert's work provides a great overview even though it is by necessity brief.

As a Jewish refugee from Egypt, I found his descriptions and analyses highly accurate. Personal history confirms the spectrum of atrocious behaviours tempered by the pockets of kindness and humanity. It was rather interesting to read about Edna Anzarut's experiences for instance, particularly given that she and her parents were, for a brief period, our neighbours in Alexandria. Her story is of course more interesting than could be described in a volume such as Gilbert's. I also found some revelations, particularly the fact that Dr Max Salame was Nasser's dentist. He was mine as well and probably one of the first in Egypt to do root canal therapy, showing the significant contribution made by Jews to the country before it was ethnically cleansed by Nasser.

Gilbert does a great job describing the constant insecurity pervading the atmosphere in the country,the fact that "good times" were merely the absence of bad ones and the fact that one could never be sure that a classmate would not use the label 'dirty Jew' at the drop of a hat, or that a teacher would not openly humiliate us in class. The July 26 speeches by Nasser were always awaited with dread and Jews would listen to at least three overseas radio stations, just to know what was really going on.

Gilbert's narrative is story-like, but apart from some very minor glitches, his history is outstanding.

I have come to know the history of a number of my fellow Jews from Egypt, including a Karaiite Jew whose relative was hanged in Cairo. Their personal histories are testament to the accuracy of Gilbert's narrative.

Insofar as the language in which Glibert's countless references are written, it is instructive to note that most of us in Egypt (and other Arab countries as well) were multi-lingual, with French and English the predominant "lingua franca". Moreover, given the large Italian, Greek, Armenian, Maltese communities (now also ethnically cleansed), it was common for most of those languages to be spoken, as well as Arabic. Jacques Hassoun's historical narrative The Jews of the Nile is written in French as were most of the official documents of the Jewish Community (together with Hebrew and in certain cases Arabic). However, it was nice to note a number of references from Egyptian historian Samir Raafat, whose work I still come across periodically.

As one already familiar with the topic, both from the literature and personal experience, I would have wished the book to be longer, much longer. However as a broad history of the Jews in Muslim lands, Gilbert's book is excellent and well worth reading for anyone wishing to know about this fascinating facet of Arab history, one that most Arab governments today would rather keep under wraps.
52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful history lesson Sept. 9 2010
By James Comfort - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is a must read book for anyone who wants to understand the relationship of Jews living in Muslim lands for over 1400 years. The best summary of this history is when Gilbert quotes Bernard Lewis, to the effect "the Jews were never free from discrimination, but only rarely subject to persecution The situation of Jews living under Islamic rulers was never as bad as in Christendom at its worst, nor ever as good as in Christendom at its best." Gilbert then goes on to describe the life of Jews since the time of Mohammed to the present day. There were over 900,000 Jews living in Muslim lands, and now there are few. To learn and understand this history, there is nothing as good as Gilbert's book. I have read most of his eighty books, and this one stands with the others.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MARTIN GILBERT EXCELS AGAIN Dec 19 2010
By LES SCHRIEBER - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
An excellent book by a distinguished British historian. It challenges the commonly held view that Jews in Muslim lands were treated well. Mr Gilbert presents a compelling, balanced account of Jewish-Muslim relations over the past 1400 years. There were golden periods in Egypt,Iran and Iraq during which Jews were treated well, were free to practice their religion and rose to prominence in the professions and in government. However, more often they were regarded as second class citizens,dhimmi,and were subject to physical attacks.With the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 the position of these Jews became progressively more intolerable. They were frequently targets of anti-Zionist sentiment. The only solution became mass migration, but they had to leave behind virtually all of their possessions. In 2010 there are only a few thousand Jews left in all the Muslim lands combined.800,000 were expelled or simply departed. This has brought an end to 1400 years of shared existence between Jews and Muslims. On the positive side, although Jews were often treated as second class citizens they fared better than their co-religionists in Christian Europe. There were no equivalents of the Spanish inquisition or The Holocaust.

In summary, for those interested in the history of Muslim-Jewish relations this book will be a worthy addition to their library.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - A Well balanced, Well Written and Well Researched History of Jews in Muslim Countries March 20 2012
By Mark Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Anything Sir Martin Gilbert writes is worth reading and this book is no exception.

This a well written, well researched and well balanced history of the treatment of Jewish communities in Muslim countries. It shows there were periods of toleration and protection of Jews by Muslim rulers, albeit under dhimmi status, amid more numerous periods of persecution and repression.

One interesting historical trend well illustrated in the book is how the rise of Zionism in the 19th century brought about increased persecution of Jews in Muslim countries. Following the creation of Israel in 1948 Jews were essentially harassed into leaving many Muslim countries, usually having to forfeit their money and property when they left. Jewish communities that had existed for millenia in countries like Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, among others, disintegrated as Jews fled to Israel, Europe and North America to escape the persecution in these countries.

In short, this is a very interesting book. After reading this I can say with certainty that I would not want to be a Jew, or a Christian, living in a Muslim country.
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Look for similar items by category


Feedback