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Leo Africanus | Amin Maalouf | PodNu Podcasts & Book Insights



Leo Africanus is a slow-paced book I read, and so perhaps I read it a little more carefully. The book covers a lot of the history of the rise and fall of the Arab world and its religious and humanistic features, and so it needs to be digested slowly. In addition to this, the book contains so many of the thrilling stories of the protagonist, the life experience through great ups and greater downs, the inner choices made, and his persistence through turbulent times, and all this must be felt carefully and even savoured from an emotional point. So after reading this book over such a long time, I struggle a little in how to put down my thoughts and feelings onto the page before me.


The book starts with The Fall of Granada, Iberia, the last Muslim land in Europe. Through the legendary experience of Hasan, the son of Muhammad the weigh-master, it shows a person’s religious choices and his attitude toward destiny, he witnessed the decline of a city and the demise of an empire. Through Hasan's life, we experience the Reconquista - that is the demise of the Emirate of Granada, the Ottoman conquest of Egypt, and the Reformation and the Age of Discovery begins, etc. He was displaced, separated from his family, the love in his life became broken, his professional career was volatile. His life is really a microcosm of the Arab world from the end of the 15th century through to the beginning of the 16th century.


This is an epic of political and religious changes in the Arab world, a legendary journey of trade routes and an historical poem written by an individual with his own life.


The author of this book, Amin Maalouf, is a Frenchman of Lebanese origin, a famous novelist, essayist, historian, and academician of the French Academy. Born on February 25, 1949 in Beirut, Lebanon, he moved to France in 1976. He has traveled to more than 60 countries around the world, experienced major historical events such as the Vietnam War and the Iranian Revolution, and is recognized as an expert in the Arab and Middle Eastern world...


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