Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ornament of the World, by Maria Rosa Menocal

The premise of this history of medieval Spain is to examine "how Muslims, Jews, and Christians created a culture of tolerance."   Sadly, for me at least, this goal was not achieved.

First off because of horrible writing.   Difficult to get through, and difficult to figure out what the author was hoping to convey from section to section.

Then, because of the emphasis of Professor Menocal's romantic notion of peaceful coexistence over the facts (e.g., the 1066 Granada massacre of Jews).   Although I could forgive even this if the writing were  clear or interesting; it is neither, which is the primary problem.

Understanding the relationships between these three groups could be fascinating, but this is not the book to read.   Just say no.

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