Franklin Watts (1998), Edition: Revised, 64 pages
Discusses the extraordinary scientific discoveries and advancements in the Islamic world after the birth of Mohammed in 570 and their impact on Western civilization in subsequent centuries and today.
64 p.; 9.49 inches
0531203557 / 9780531203552
LibraryThing member KeithMaddox
I found this to be an excellent (though superficial) survey of early Islamic contributions to modern science. The book describes in a relatable way the great (and some of the lesser-known) figures of Islamic science, such as al-Kwarizmi and Omar Khayyam. It is an excellent introduction for an advanced 7th grader or a high schooler who is not the best or most ambitious reader. I thought that the book was weak on explanations of technique, theory, and background, and would only recommend it to a science student if they already understood the science aspect. In that case, however, it is an excellent background into who developed the knowledge, and in what context. For history students, it can provide a skeleton to understand medieval Middle-Eastern history around, though it will not tell a whole lot there either if the student does not have some background. However, it is an excellent bridge for a history buff to understand some ideas in science and vice versa for a science buff. Just as the explanation of theory was a little weak, the book could have benefitted from better explanation of some of the illustrations. For example, there is an excellent, clear picture of an astronomical table, but no further explanation of what it means, and what the parts are (The student would have to be a pretty talented decipherer or speak Arabic to glean any meaning from it). That being said, there are many pictures that would give a student a fair idea of the sophistication of Islamic culture, but I could envision many simple charts or diagrams that would take this much further. Additionally, there is some wording in the introduction that may hint at some Euro-centrism for the more sensitive multicultural educators. These criticisms aside, the book is attractive, well-organized and presented, clear and engaging. A science or history teacher could do well to have his or her student read or report to the class on this book inour age of curiousity and misunderstanding between American and Islamic culture.
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