rusq: Vol. 51 Issue 3: p. 292
Sources: Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia
Colleen Lougen

Colleen Lougen, Electronic Resources Librarian, State University of New York at New Paltz

This unique and concise encyclopedia provides over six hundred entries about the sweeping military and political history of Islam from the seventh century to present day. Edited by Alexander Mikaberidze, a professor at Louisiana State University, Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia is a focused, two-volume set presenting the collective expertise of over 100 military and political scholars, including the support of the esteemed Bernard Lewis whom the editor describes as the “doyen of Islamic studies.”

Entries cover conflicts, wars, rebellions, battles, weapons, leaders, and other military facets. Most entries are a page to a page and a half in length with some broader topics, such as “Saljuks” or “Algerian War (1954–1962),” running several pages in length. Many of the entries are accompanied by photographs or maps and provide introductory information in basic terminology geared to high school and college students who have little or no knowledge of Islam. A glossary of commonly used Islamic military terms is within easy reach in volume 2. Every entry has a bibliography of further readings that includes mostly book citations which one could use for further research or as a collection development tool. Also included are cross-references that direct the reader to related topics.

The encyclopedia is extensive in its scope, covering Islamic military history spanning several centuries. Geographically, it includes the customary Middle Eastern regions but also Islamic countries in North Africa, Central Asia, Southwestern Asia, and Oceania. In the preface, Mikaberidze describes the encyclopedia as “selective by nature” and explains that its purpose is to feature Muslim military and political leaders and omit Western personalities that are already covered in existing reference materials (xxx). The selections made by the editor offer an extensive overview of Islamic military and political history that is truly unique. It is the only encyclopedia whose sole focus is Islamic history from the military and political perspective. Included in volume 1 is a convenient chronological list of major conflicts and battles fought by or in Islamic nations.

This reference work is unique and topical. Highly recommended for academic, public, and high school libraries. Available electronically.

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