Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Ornament of the World - Maria Rosa Menocal

Subtitle: How Muslims, Jes, and Christians created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain

I need something to read for a long plain ride and this book ended up in my suitcase, a novel I acquired from a friend's library after she passed away.  It was written by a scholar of medieval Spain history.  It's a historical account I knew little about, seven centuries from 750 to 1492 in the Spanish penisula.  It was a bit dense with names and places and successions of rulers but the concentrated focus needed was perfect for screening out dull air flight.

The author's epilogue explains her thesis that different religious cultures can co-exist and flourish.  It's only when one persuasion decides there's is the only true belief and enforces fundamental furor on non-believers that the society falls apart.  In her postscript the author explains that the book was finished and to the publisher before 9/11 and that, though tempted, she did not alter it prior to publication but let it speak to our new reality.

Published: 2002  Read: May 2014  Genre: History

Side note:  I often find bookmarks left in books that are a story themselves.  This one had a ticket stub from the Arizona opera and a news article about the Persian poem, Shahnamen.  Some day, I plan to write a story about bookmarks and other bits I've found in books.

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