Saturday, February 16, 2019

Patrick Reviews the Memoirs of Usama Ibn-Munqidh

In days just recently gone by, I would have posted this to G+. Not quite sure what to do with this now, so it goes here.

This sounds like an utterly fascinating read:

The cultural situation is equally incoherent. It is a time of cosmopolitan prejudice and cultural-exchange murder-fests. If you picked out one half of these stories you could have a nice low-rent twitter link about how the period of the Crusades was a time of "wonderful diversity and cultural growth", which is true, so far as it goes. If you picked out the other half you could have a nice alt-right article about how Muslims and Christians are destined to endlessly muerderise each other. But all of these things are happening at once, all the time.

To me the randomness is baffling, strange and frightening. It feels very realistic and it makes it seem to me as if the world is a stupid place...

This is simply a great book for anyone who wants to spend an few days with a crazy Islamic grandad. I would strongly recommend it.

The past is a foreign country, and the Middle Ages is, quite frankly, an alien world at times, even if you're reading about the western parts of it our culture descended from. A deep, day-in-the-life sort of read like this can only boggle the modern mind, but it's a fascinating boggling all the same.

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