Author(s): Christopher de Bellaigue
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE 2017'An eye-opening, well-written and very timely book' Yuval Noah Harari'The best sort of book for our disordered days- timely, urgent and illuminating' Pankaj Mishra'It strikes a blowafor common humanity' Sunday TimesThe Muslim world has often been accused of a failure to modernise and adapt. Yet in this sweeping narrative and provocative retelling of modern history, Christopher de Bellaigue charts the forgotten story of the Islamic Enlightenment - the social movements, reforms and revolutions that transfigured the Middle East from the early nineteenth century to the present day. Modern ideals and practices were embraced across the region, including the adoption of modern medicine, the emergence of women from purdah and the development of democracy.The Islamic Enlightenment looks behind the sensationalist headlines in order to foster a genuine understanding of Islam and its relationship to the West. It is essential reading for anyone engaged in the state of the world today.
Short-listed for Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2017 (UK). Long-listed for Cundill Prize for Historical Literature 2017 (UK).
"An eye-opening, well-written and very timely book, which can help us understand better the complex relationship between the Muslim world and modernity. While both Islamic extremists and Western bigots find it convenient to stress the incompatibility of Islam and modernity, Christopher de Bellaigue shows that Islam is whatever Muslims make of it, and that at least some Muslims have made of it something very modern." -- YUVAL NOAH HARARI author of SAPIENS and HOMO DEUS "This book is an enlightenment in itself, and a salient one in this age when everyone seems to feel entitled to a firm opinion about Islam and Muslims." -- David Aaronovitch * The Times * "A highly original and informative survey of the clashes between Islam and modernity in Istanbul, Cairo and Tehran in the last two hundred years. Brilliant." -- Orhan Pamuk "Christopher de Bellaigue has long been one of our most resourceful and stimulating interpreters of realities veiled by fear and prejudice. In The Islamic Enlightenment, he cuts through the complacent opposition of Islam-versus-modernity to reveal a fascinating world: one in which complex human beings constantly change, improvise and adjust under the pressures of history. It is the best sort of book for our disordered days: timely, urgent and illuminating." -- Pankaj Mishra "This is a nuanced and empathetic view of the Islamic world at one of its most challenging and enthralling moments: its history-changing encounter with western modernity... At a time of profound suspicion and mistrust between the West and the Muslim world, this is an important, beautifully written book that offers a powerful corrective to the notion that Islam contains an inbuilt prejudice against modernity. It strikes a blow, as the most readable writers do, for common humanity." -- Justin Marozzi * Sunday Times *
Christopher de Bellaigue was born in London in 1971, and was educated at Cambridge University, where he read Iranian and Indian Studies. Between 1995 and 2007, he lived and worked as a journalist in south Asia and the Middle East, writing for The Economist, Guardian and the New York Review of Books. He is the award-winning author of four books and has made several BBC television and radio programmes. He lives in London.