Beginning in the year 711 and continuing for nearly a thousand years, the Islamic presence survived in Spain, at times flourishing, and at other times dwindling into warring fiefdoms. But the culture and science thereby brought to Spain, including long-buried knowledge from Greece, largely forgotten during Europe's Dark Ages, was to have an enduring impact on the country as it emerged into the modern era. In this gracefully written history, Richard Fletcher reveals the Moorish culture in all its fascinating disparity and gives us history at its best: here is vivid storytelling by a renowned scholar.
Fletcher, author of the well-received The Quest for El Cid ( LJ 3/1/90), intends his new work to be an introduction to the culture and history of Moorish Spain. He has written for the traveler who wants more background than the average guidebook provides or for anyone who wants a thoroughgoing overview of the subject. Fletcher uses translations from Moorish poetry and historical anecdotes to illuminate a significant period in European history, arguing that Moorish Spain acted as a channel through which the philosophical and scientific works of the Islamic world passed to European Christendom. One example given by Fletcher is the development of Thomist philosophy, which sought to reconcile revelation and reason. The Moorish philosopher Averroes, whose treatises on Aristotle had attempted such a reconciliation of philosophy and religion in an Islamic context, was cited by St. Thomas Aquinas 503 times. This is recommended for public and academic libraries.-- Robert Andrews, Duluth P.L., Minn.