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Published: 02 May 2019

512 Pages


ISBN: 9780198830139

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Useful Enemies

Islam and The Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450-1750

Noel Malcolm

  • Useful Enemies is the first-ever book on this whole subject, it provides an overview of three centuries of 'the mental world of those in the West who wrote in a political way about the East.'
  • Contains a new interpretation of the origins of the concept of 'oriental despotism'. Noel Malcolm traces the further development of this theory in the 17th and 18th centuries, paying special attention to the relevance of such arguments to internal Western political debates
  • Noel Malcolm contends that a negative portrayal of Islam as a religion devised for political purposes was assimilated by radical writers, who extended the criticism to all religions, including Christianity itself
  • Sheds new light on major writers (e.g. Machiavelli, Bodin, Montesquieu), but also gives new prominence to many less well-known ones