A History of the Muslim World: From Its Origin to the Dawn of Modernity

Publication Year



A panoramic history of the Muslim world from the age of the Prophet Muḥammad to the birth of the modern era.

This book describes and explains the major events, personalities, conflicts, and convergences that have shaped the history of the Muslim world. The body of the book takes readers from the origins of Islam to the eve of the nineteenth century, and an epilogue continues the story to the present day. Michael Cook thus provides a broad history of a civilization remarkable for both its unity and diversity.

After setting the scene in the Middle East of late antiquity, the book depicts the rise of Islam as one of the great black swan events of history. It continues with the spectacular rise of the Caliphate, an empire that by the time it broke up had nurtured the formation of a new civilization. It then goes on to cover the diverse histories of all the major regions of the Muslim world, providing a wide-ranging account of the key military, political, and cultural developments that accompanied the eastward and westward spread of Islam from the Middle East to the shores of the Atlantic and the Pacific.

At the same time, A History of the Muslim World contains numerous primary-source quotations that expose the reader to a variety of acutely insightful voices from the Muslim past.

Reviews and Endorsements

"A timely, wide-ranging examination of the Muslim world. . . . Cook’s study sheds crucial light on Islamic development across borders and centuries."—Kirkus Reviews

"Cook tours the globe, bringing cultures and customs to life in evocative detail. . . . An accessible history of the Muslim world."—Publishers Weekly

“Michael Cook has written a masterpiece that will inform and inspire generations of readers. Seldom has the history of the Muslim world been told so well.”—Roy P. Mottahedeh, Harvard University

“A work of immense learning and erudition by one of the greatest historians of the premodern Islamic Middle East. With clarity and wit, Michael Cook has produced a volume that will be easily accessible to scholars, students, and general readers alike. A History of the Muslim World is a delight to read.”—Hugh Kennedy, author of The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In

Princeton University Press
Princeton, NJ