Cover image for A history of Islamic societies
A history of Islamic societies
Lapidus, Ira M. (Ira Marvin)
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
xxx, 970 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS35.63 .L37 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Long considered a classic, A History of Islamic Societies is now that much more useful a reference for general readers and scholars alike. Widely praised for its balanced and comprehensive account, Ira Lapidus' work has been fully revised in its coverage of each country and region of the Muslim world through 2001. It incorporates the origins and evolution of Islamic societies and brings into focus the historical processes that gave shape to the manifold varieties of contemporary Islam. The concluding chapters survey the growing influence of the Islamist movements within national states and in their transnational or global dimensions, including the Islamic revival, Islamist politics and terrorism. An updated discussion of the roles of women in Islamic societies is added, with new sections about Afghanistan and Muslims in Europe, America, and the Philippines. Ira M. Lapidus is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California at Berkeley. His many books and articles include Islam, Politics and Social Movements (University of California Press, 1988) and Muslim Cities in the Later Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1984).

Author Notes

Ira M. Lapidus is Professor Emeritus of History, University of California at Berkeley

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

A Berkeley history professor directs his research to the general reader in this historical account of Islamic societies throughout the world. First the book presents the life and beliefs of the Prophet himself and illustrates Islam's initial contact with the other civilizations of its period and place. Lapidus then traces the origins of Islamic culture in the Middle East and shows its spread throughout the region and into Asia and Africa through the nineteenth century. Most pertinent for today, the author examines the Islamic revival in Iran and the current rise of Arab nationalism. An in-depth and detailed treatment but one that is highly accessible and instrumental in clarifying the aims and directions of Muslim society in both a political and a religious sense. Maps, glossary, and bibliography; to be indexed. JB. 909'.097671 Islamic countries-History / Islam-History [CIP] 87-11754

Library Journal Review

Respected scholar Lapidus here emphasizes what he argues to be the distinctive features of Islamic societiesthe developments of communal, religious, and political institutions. The book's first section deals with the Islamic transformation of traditional Middle Eastern societies; the second, the diffusion of Middle Eastern Islam to other regions; and the last, the disruptions of Muslim societies with the collapse of the Islamic empire and European domination. The book covers Africa and Central and Southern Asia as well as the Middle East. Recommended for all research and general library collections. J. Anthony Gardner, California State Univ., Northridge (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Twelve years separate the third edition of this encyclopedic survey of Muslim history from its previous second edition (2002), and 26 years from the original edition (CH, Jan'89, 26-2848). Much has happened during those years to merit this new edition, although the broad scope of the narrative-14-plus centuries-provides scarce room for in-depth elaboration on the latest developments, such as the "Arab Spring" throughout the Middle East or the proliferation of violent jihadist groups throughout the world. While the first three parts (which cover the pre-20th-century eras) have remained largely unchanged (though infused with references to current scholarship), it is the last part where new insight should be sought. Particularly noteworthy is the last chapter (59), devoted to the growing presence of Islam in the West (notably Europe and North America). For the new generation of scholars and students interested in the multifaceted nature of Islamic societies across the broad spectrum of time and geographic space, this new edition of Lapidus's classic work will serve as an invaluable reference. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. --Moshe Gershovich, University of Nebraska, Omaha

Table of Contents

Part I The Origins of Islamic Civilization: The Middle East from c.600-1200
The Preaching of Islam
1 Arabia
2 The Life of the Prophet
The Arab-Muslim Imperium, 632-945
3 The Arab conquests and the socio-economic bases of empire
4 The Caliphate
5 Cosmopolitan Islam: the Islam of the imperial elite
6 Urban Islam: the Islam of the religious elites
7 Islamic culture and the separation of state and religion
8 The fall of the 'Abbasid empire
From Islamic Culture to Islamic Society: Iran and Iraq, 945-c.1200
9 The post- 'Abbasid Middle Eastern state system
10 Muslim communities and Middle Eastern societies
11 The collective ideal
12 The personal ethic
Part II The Worldwide Diffusion of Islamic Societies from the Tenth to the Nineteenth Century: Introduction
The Middle Eastern Islamic Societies
13 Iran: the Mongol, Timurid, and Safavid empires
14 The Turkish migrations and the Ottoman empire
15 The Arab Middle East
16 Islamic North Africa and Spain to the nineteenth century
Islam in Central and Southern Asia
17 Inner Asia from the Mongol conquests to the nineteenth century
18 The Indian subcontinent: the Delhi Sultanates and the Mughal empire
19 The formation of Islamic societies in Southeast Asia
Islam in Africa
20 Islam in Sudanic, Savannah, and Forest West Africa
21 Islam in East Africa and the rise of European colonial empires
Part III The Modern Transformation: Muslim Peoples in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Introduction
Nationalism and Islam in the Middle East
22 Iran: state and religion in the modern era
23 The dissolution of the Ottoman empire and the modernization of Turkey
24 Egypt: secularism and Islamic modernity
25 The Arab Middle East: Arabism, military states, and Islam
26 North Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
Secularism and Islam in Central and Southern Asia
27 The Indian subcontinent: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
28 Islam in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines
29 Inner Asia under Russian and Chinese rule
Islam in Twentieth-Century Africa
30 Islam in West Africa
31 Islam in East Africa
32 Muslims in Europe and America
Conclusion: secularized Islam and Islamic revival