A Vital Examination of Islam's Contributions to Modern Society

WASHINGTON (May 23, 2007)--In LOST HISTORY: THE ENDURING LEGACY OF MUSLIM SCIENTISTS, THINKERS, AND ARTISTS (National Geographic Books; June 19, 2007; ISBN: 978-1-4262-0092-2; $26), award-winning diplomat Michael Hamilton Morgan presents a more complete view of Muslim culture -- one that counters the current focus on war, terrorism and politics.

As timely as it is telling, LOST HISTORY seeks to bridge the gulf of misunderstanding, misinformation and incomplete knowledge that plagues both sides in what is now called the "clash of civilizations".

With a foreword by King Abdullah ll of Jordan, LOST HISTORY is a compelling examination of the major cultural, artistic and scientific contributions that Islam has made to modern society. It is essential and gripping reading for anyone seeking to understand how early Muslim breakthroughs in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, science, culture and leadership not only laid the cornerstones of the European Renaissance, but how they reverberate even today in computation, digital appliances, surgery and pharmaceuticals, film and books, modern universities and global commerce.

"It is hoped that this work will contribute to greater understanding of Islam by Westerners, and will help them to appreciate that just as our pasts have intertwined in constructive ways, so too can our futures," King Abdullah ll writes.

A thousand years ago, when London and Paris were muddy towns of 30,000, when few Europeans could read and their continent was wracked by poverty and superstition, Baghdad was one of the world's greatest cities with 2 million people, a thought-center churning out higher math, proto-modern chemistry, effective medical care and vast libraries that held the memory of many civilizations. Cordoba was the capital of a rival Muslim empire where a musician-inventor performed the first hang-glider flight and surgeons were devising the first orthodontia, plastic surgery and forceps-assisted delivery. Cairo was a third Arab center of invention, fully tri-religious and home to perhaps the first modern university. Other Muslim cities of thought, tolerance and invention were already flourishing or would soon appear.

Morgan's extensive experience in the Muslim culture informs much of his profound insight into not only Islam's historic achievements but also the ancient resentments that fuel today's bitter conflicts. As he chronicles the Golden Age of Islam, beginning in A.D. 570 with the birth of Muhammad, he introduces us to towering figures that revolutionized the mathematics, astronomy and medicine of their time and paved the way for Newton, Copernicus and many others. He reminds us that inspired leaders from Muhammad to Suleiman the Magnificent championed religious tolerance, encouraged intellectual inquiry and sponsored artistic, architectural and literary works that still dazzle us with their brilliance.

In his review of the book, President Jimmy Carter writes, "Lost History delivers a missing link to the story of an interconnected world: the achievements of Muslim civilization and its influence on East and West."

Michael Hamilton Morgan is the founder of New Foundations for Peace and author of "The Twilight War," "Graveyards of the Pacific" and "Collision with History: the Search for John F. Kennedy's PT 109." On the last two books he collaborated with Titanic discoverer Robert Ballard. He has appeared on "Good Morning America," "CBS Evening News" and Mutual Radio. From 1990-2000 he directed Mobil's Pegasus Prize for Literature. He was a U.S. diplomat from 1980-87.


Penelope Dackis
National Geographic
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