Reviews

  • Marozzi is an outstanding guide to the urban centres he expounds on, partly because of his deep understanding and love for the peoples and places he writes about. . . . The succession of delightful pen portraits of rulers, as well as writers, artists and scholars, makes for a riveting read. This is a fine book that helps recentre our understanding of the past by focusing on cities about which little is known in Europe, in spite of their enduring importance and the role they have played in history. It is a compelling and personal account by an author who knows, cares and has thought deeply about his subject matter. It is a new Hudud al-Alam, the famous 10th-century Persian geography book, for the 21st century - informing, revealing and delighting in some of the parts of the world that everyone should know about.

    The Sunday Times
  • It is refreshing to read a book on Islam by someone who combines profound erudition with emotional intelligence and empathy. . . . A continuously readable narrative . . . For each of the cities included there is a well-rounded chapter, with an illuminating history, a perceptive analysis of personalities and politics, and a fair-minded assessment of its intellectual, artistic and architectural achievements.

    Avi Shlaim, The Financial Times
  • This impressively clever, careful, and often beautiful book is the best sort of journey. . . Our guide is never predictable, continually fascinating, and his elegant writing makes for a very comfortable ride.

    Jason Burke, The Spectator
  • Deeply engaging and fascinating

    Noel Malcolm, The Sunday Telegraph
  • The approach is perfect [and] the balance between telling detail and telling story is spot on. With its fine drawing and mass of minute detail, reading the book is more like poring over the framed miniatures in a manuscript: here a Moghul lolls by a pool, there a Timurid rampages across the page. The prose, too, is beautifully paced, sprightly but never tiring. And the city portraits build up into a panorama of Islamic civilisation as full as any history, and far more entertaining.

    Tim Mackintosh-Smith, The Evening Standard
  • Superbly crafted ... Marozzi knows the ground intimately [and] has constructed a brilliant narrative by stringing together a necklace of tales from 15 extraordinary cities.

    Barnaby Rogerson, History Today
  • Marozzi's expertly crafted narrative ... captures the rich, varied and often complex nature of Islamic civilization by offering glimpses of not just its leaders and their institutions, but also its cultural shifts through history,

    Arab News
  • A rich mix of historical detail, colourful description and first-hand insights. Marozzi's style mixes historical insight with the descriptive flow of a seasoned traveller.

    Damien McElroy, The National
  • Magnificence and ruination go hand in hand in this vivid tale.

    Richard Spencer, The Times
  • Islamic Empires is a seemingly boundless trove of intellectual, architectural, and actual treasures ... Marozzi writes colourful, narrative history of the finest kind: pacey, crimson, and with all the references left until the end.

    Geographical Magazine

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