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Judith Herrin's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Judith Herrin recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Judith Herrin's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Strolling Through Istanbul

The Classic Guide to the City

Available for the first time since its original publication thirty-seven years ago, this classic guide to Istanbul by Hilary Sumner-Boyd and John Freely is published in a completely revised and updated edition. Taking the reader on foot through Istanbul, the European City of Culture 2010, the authors describe the historic monuments and sites of what was once Constantinople and the capital, in turn, of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, in the context of the great living city. Woven throughout are anecdotes, secret histories, hidden gems, and every major place of interest the...
Recommended by Judith Herrin, and 1 others.

Judith HerrinIt is a wonderfully evocative guidebook that is a great pleasure to read. When I first went to Istanbul, in the 60s, it was newly produced and was the fullest and most complete guidebook – I was astonished by the detail. The authors had walked around and made sense of the city in a way that was very thrilling. I strolled through these different parts of Istanbul with my copy of their book which... (Source)

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The Making of the Islamic World

This is a paperback edition of a controversial study of the origins of Islamic civilisation, first published in 1977. By examining non-Muslim sources, the authors point out the intimate link between the Jewish religion and the earliest forms of Islam. As a serious, scholarly attempt to open up a new, exploratory path of Islamic history, the book has already engendered much debate. This paperback edition will make the authors' conclusions widely accessible to teachers and students of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. less
Recommended by Judith Herrin, and 1 others.

Judith HerrinHagarism is the most exciting book I read as a young graduate. It made sense of the rise of Islam. Cook and Crone, the authors, looked long and hard at what non-Arabic sources tell us about the rise of Islam, and about this new prophet Mohammed. I got to know the authors and realised how seriously they undertook this delicate job. Islam is a living faith and there are people who interpret the... (Source)

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This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has...
Recommended by Judith Herrin, and 1 others.

Judith HerrinI’m sure it did, but I think Bury really belongs in the classic tradition. I have selected that work because he wrote beautifully. Bury’s analysis of original sources is a lesson to all of us in how to read carefully and with sympathy but looking constantly for the gaps or the silences in the sources which indicate some aspect which we can’t quite understand, and which Bury was able to make sense... (Source)

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This chronicle of the Byzantine Empire, beginning in 1025, shows a profound understanding of the power politics that characterized the empire and led to its decline. less
Recommended by Judith Herrin, and 1 others.

Judith HerrinI decided that it was very important to have a book by a Byzantine, because you get a much stronger sense of the culture and the atmosphere of Byzantium by reading what an individual who lived then wrote. Byzantium, the ancient Greek city, established by colonising Greeks from Megara in 667 BC and named after king Byzantas, later, renamed as Constantinople, became the center of the Byzantine... (Source)

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The World of Late Antiquity 150-750

This remarkable study in social and cultural change explains how and why the Late Antique world, between c. 150 and c. 750, came to differ from "Classical civilization."

These centuries, as the author demonstrates, were the era in which the most deeply rooted of ancient institutions disappeared for all time. By 476 the Roman empire had vanished from western Europe; by 655 the Persian empire had vanished from the Near East.

Peter Brown, Professor of History at Princeton University, examines these changes and men's reactions to them, but his account shows that the period...
Recommended by Robin Lane Fox, Judith Herrin, and 2 others.

Robin Lane FoxWhat I like about this book is that it is focused on cultural, religious and philosophical changes, particularly in the Greek-speaking world where they were strongest. (Source)

Judith HerrinReally, Late Antiquity wasn’t much of a concept before that book came out. In very few words he managed to sketch out a whole new geography. (Source)

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