Benson Bobrick's Book is a quick and short introduction to Abbasid Golden age. The writer particularly focuses on reign of Harun al Rashid. The Caliph who is immortalised in the "Tales of One thousand and one nights". I understand that covering the Court culture, Poetry, Harem intrigues and Politics in a single book is difficult. However the writer manages to give us glimpses of it despite his oversimplified narrative. In my perspective, treatment on Al-andalus is superficial and very little is conveyed on the subject. I liked the narration of various shenanigans on the Abbasid court house. The personality of Harun al Rashid is very interesting. He is pious, energetic, intelligent, wise and benevolent ruler yet can be ruthless,jealous and vindictive. The book describes few chilling narrative of his punishments.
"A baker in baghdad was cut into piece and baked in his own owen for short weighing"
The last chapter tell us their accomplishment on Science and Technology, Trade and Commerce, Architecture, Agriculture, Music, Lifestyle and Fashion which influence us even today. Overall a goodread.
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