'A gripping and accomplished travel book ...[it] stands out for its integrity and intelligence.' - Anthony Sattin, "Sunday Times". Ibn Battutah was the greatest traveller of the pre-mechanical age, journeying for twenty nine years and covering three times the ground Marco Polo covered. Tim Mackintosh-Smith follows the first stage of Ibn Battutah's journey, from Tangier to Constantinople. Destinations include an Islamic Butlin's in the Egyptian desert, Assassin castles in Syria, the Kuria Maria Islands in the Arabian Sea and some of the greatest cities of Medeival Islam. He also cleverly compares the contemporary Muslim world with the past. 'Mackintosh-Smith slips effortlessly between our world and that of the fourteenth century. In doing so, he has created a gripping and accomplished travel book...We will be lucky if there is a better one published this year' - "Sunday Times". 'An immensely engaging book...Subversive good humour without relentless jokiness; and a descriptive eye capable of sketching complext details in a few telling lines.' - "Daily Telegraph".
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In 1325, the great Arab traveler Ibn Battutah set out from his native Tangier in North Africa on pilgrimage to Mecca. By the time he returned nearly thirty years later, he had seen most of the known world, covering three times the distance allegedly traveled by the great Venetian explorer Marco Polo--some 75,000 miles in all.
Captivated by Ibn Battutah's account of his journey, the Arabic scholar and award-winning travel writer Tim Mackintosh-Smith set out to follow in the peripatetic Moroccan's footsteps. Traversing Egyptian deserts and remote islands in the Arabian Sea, visiting castles in Syria and innumerable souks in medieval Islam's great cities, Mackintosh-Smith sought clues to Ibn Battutah's life and times, encountering the ghost of "IB" in everything from place names (in Tangier alone, a hotel, street, airport, and ferry bear IB's name), to dietary staples to an Arabic online dating service-- and introducing us to a world of unimaginable wonders.
By necessity, Mackintosh-Smith's journey may have cut some corners ("I only wish I had the odd thirty years to spare, and Ibn Battutah's enviable knack of extracting large amounts of cash, robes and slaves from compliant rulers.") But in this wry, evocative, and uniquely engaging travelogue, he spares no effort in giving readers an unforgettable glimpse into both the present-day and fourteenth-century Islamic worlds.
TIM MACKINTOSH-SMITH was studying Arabic at Oxford when he first visited Yemen and became obsessed with the place and its language. He has lived there since 1982. His first book, YEMEN: THE UNKNOWN ARABIA, won the Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Award and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2000.
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Book Description Picador, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0330491148
Book Description Picador, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0330491148