Islam: A Short History (2000) charts the meteoric rise of Islam from its birth as a small sect in seventh-century Arabia to a global religion with just under two billion followers. What makes Islam unique among faiths, Karen Armstrong argues, are its refusal to postpone justice to the next world and quest to create the perfect society in the here and now. She follows this thread in her fascinating tour of 1,500 years of Islamic history.
The Kite Runner (2003) is narrated by Amir, an Afghan living in the US, as he reflects on his childhood in Kabul, and an incident that changed his life. This best-selling novel is a story of friendship, family, betrayal, and redemption.
Anyone who’s curious about a book that was a New York Times bestseller for 2 years
Killing the Killers (2022) takes you deep into the global war on terror. As it examines the role of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, it moves through all the theaters of action including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Iran, and Afghanistan. It’s the eleventh book in the best-selling Killing series.
The Silk Roads (2015) is a comprehensive history of the world, written with an eye to the networks of trade that shaped it. The networks of trade first established in ancient Persia and later linked with Chinese trade routes created a great network between the East and the West. But these Silk Roads are not relics of the past. They have morphed and changed, and their impact can be felt today, right down to America’s fateful engagement in the region where it all began.
Destiny Disrupted (2009) tells history from an Islamic perspective. It begins before the emergence of Muhammad and Islam in the seventh century CE and ends with the decline of the Islamic empires in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. On this epic journey, Tamim Ansary describes the fascinating stories of great Muslim states, scholars and leaders – a perspective on history that is, unfortunately, widely unknown to most Westerners.
Jerusalem (2011) tells the story of a city considered holy by three of the world’s major religions, and which is central to some of the greatest conflicts in human history. These blinks detail the history of Jerusalem, the near-constant battles it has inspired and the fundamental role it has played in shaping humankind over the course of millennia.
The Muqaddimah (fourteenth century, first English edition 1958), a classic text on the Islamic history of the world, focuses on the rise and fall of civilizations. It offers a unique glimpse into the world of the fourteenth-century Arab Muslim, and is regarded as a foundational text in several academic disciplines.
Lawrence in Arabia (2013) reveals how a small cast of characters forever changed the Middle East during World War I and the Arab Revolt. At its center was T. E. Lawrence, a brash and untrained young military officer who was torn between two nations and experienced firsthand the broken promises of politics and the horrors of war.
The Looming Tower (2006) is all about al-Qaeda, its formation, and the personalities behind it. These blinks detail the route taken to power by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the run-up to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack that devastated the United States.
Ancient Egypt is a historical anomaly: the Egyptians called upon women to lead their country more frequently than any other culture. Tracing their rise to power within the authoritarian system of divine kingship, When Women Ruled the World (2018) tells the stories of Egypt’s six most important female leaders – Merneith, Neferusobek, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, Tawosret and Cleopatra – and explores what lessons they hold about female leadership for us today.
The Seventh Million (1991) is all about the way in which the Holocaust has shaped the Israeli identity. These blinks detail everything from the Zionist response to Nazism and the arrival of the first European Jewish refugees in Palestine to the Six-Day War and Holocaust Memorial Day.
ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror (2015) charts the rapid rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East, from its early beginnings to its self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Grippingly told, the story of ISIS’s domination over al-Qaeda in Iraq and its slow but ruthless push in Syria also shines light on the failings of the West in dealing with this fanatical yet disciplined jihadi group.
Black Flags (2015) tells the origin story of the infamous terror organization known as the Islamic State or ISIS. These blinks detail a history that begins with a fledgling insurgency in Iraq following the US invasion in 2003 and ends with one of the most powerful and frightening terrorist groups of all time.
Saving Aziz (2023) is the story of how one man’s daring rescue of his friend and brother-in-arms turned into a multi-organizational effort that has resulted in rescuing over 17,000 allies from Afghanistan.