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Book Title: Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms|
The author of the book: Gerard Russell
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Format files: PDF
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Reader ratings: 7.5
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Edition: Simon & Schuster UK
Date of issue: February 5th 2015
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In Europe, under the Catholic Church, no pre-Christian religion has been allowed to endure. But further to the south and to the east, the religions of ancient Assyria, of the Greeks and Romans, and even of the earliest Indo-European tribes, did not wholly die out with the advent of Christianity and then Islam. They have survived in various guises and mutations for thousands of years, scattered across North Africa and the Middle East. Their view of religion is often radically different from that of Western religions. But hardly anyone has ever heard of them.
Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms is the first book about the remarkable survival, for more than a thousand years under Islamic rule, of the people who are still practicing these astonishing religions. Author Gerard Russell travels through their homelands, while they still exist, and uncovers their history, their beliefs, how they have survived, and how they are relevant today. The continued existence of these communities proves something that the West should welcome: that despite all the obstacles, Muslims and non-Muslims have always found ways to co-exist, that there is a genuine, indigenous culture in Islam of cosmopolitanism, of live-and-let-live, of openness to the outside world. But it is now under threat because of fundamentalism, globalization, war and oppression.
Part travelogue, part history, and beautifully written, in the tradition of William Dalrymple's From the Holy Mountian,Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms records the customs and culture of communities that are on the verge of extinction. It provides a rare insight into a hidden world that is overlooked by political analysts and inaccessible to those who do not speak their languages, helping Western readers to understand Islam better, at a time when all too often it is degraded by stereotypes which its own diversity disproves.
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