Released on 03 jul 2014

Announcing the publication of The Race for Paradise, by Paul M. Cobb

In 1099, when the first crusaders arrived triumphant and bloody before the walls of Jerusalem, they carved out a Christian European presence in the Islamic world that remained for centuries, bolstered by subsequent waves of new crusades and pilgrimages. But how did medieval Muslims understand these events? What does an Islamic history of the Crusades look like? When seen from the perspective of medieval Muslims, the Crusades emerge as a dramatically different story from the Christian one we know from the European chronicles.

Carefully researched and based almost exclusively upon Muslim sources, The Race for Paradise offers a fresh, insightful perspective on the complex relationship between Christians and Muslims. Suleiman A. Mourad of Smith College foregrounds Paul M. Cobb’s work as ‘indispensable for anyone interested in understanding the Crusades and the Muslim World at that time.’

In his lively, accessible register, Cobb invites us to see medieval Muslims managing this new and long-lived Crusader threat not simply as victims or as victors, but as everything in between, on all shores of the Muslim Mediterranean, from Spain to Syria.

This is not just a straightforward tale of warriors and kings clashing in the Holy Land. What emerges is a complicated and fascinating tale of border-crossers and turncoats; of embassies and merchants; of scholars and spies, all of them seeking to manage this new threat from the ‘barbarian’ Christian fringes of their ordered Islamic world.

Paul M. Cobb , is Professor of Islamic History at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous books and studies, including a translation of the Arabic memoirs of a Muslim eyewitness to the Crusades published as The Book of Contemplation: Islam and the Crusades (2008). A recognized authority on relations between Islam and the West during the Middle Ages, he has travelled widely throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

3rd July 2014 | Hardback | £20.00 | 978-0-19-953201-8

Publicity Manager: Chloe Foster | 01865 353584 |