In a word ‘Marvelous’.
A job indeed done very well by Tamim Ansary. It’s just wonderful to see how the writer has covered almost 1450 years of history in just around 350 pages!
Personally, I was not able to engage myself with the book till the 5th chapter, while reading the first four chapters I was wondering what’s new in this book? As a Muslim by birth and being a keen reader of Religion and History I knew almost every detail mentioned in these chapters, but from the 5th chapter onward I couldn’t stop myself from reading the book until I finished it!
This book has just become one of my favorites, writing style, storytelling approach, relating the events with each other, why and why have-nots, description of things on going in parallel, the writer’s own point of view (Which he has asserted in quite a few places) and the reason for it being so and everything else in this book has just taken me by heart.
A book that in my opinion, one can not just read once, especially people fascinated with Religious History. People in East and West should definitely read this book to get an idea of not only just Muslim history but to get an answer of WHYS for differences, extremism and conflicts among Muslims, Jews and Christians (within their faiths and with other religions).
In chapters namely “Havoc”, “Rebirth” and “Meanwhile in Europe”, Tamim has, in an absorbing manner described How the crusades and mongol invasions shaped the lives (Common people, Religions clergy, Elite and ruling class) of both Muslims in middle earth and Christians in Europe.
Suggestions for improvement:
Author should have described differences among different schools of thought according to theology and jurisprudence in a bit more detail along with beliefs of Ismaili and Zaidiyyah Shia Muslims, as the author himself has mentioned in the book even 10% of the Muslims do not know about these differences, In my opinion a short dedicated chapter to this account would have added more charm and insight to the book. Obviously Destiny Disrupted is a history of the “World” through “Islamic eyes” and not a book on comparison of different schools of thoughts of Muslims, but this is exactly why readers would have enjoyed the book much more if they had gotten a better and clear idea of what exactly those “Islamic Eyes” are!
Surely the thought would have occurred to the author. Who knows, maybe Tamim didn’t do so to avoid non-Muslims getting bored by these details as horizon of intended readers is broad. Anyway, the book is fascinating even without it.
Absolutely loved it.
Much, much recommended!