The life of UsA mah ibn-Munqidh epitomizes the height of Arab civilization during the early Crusading period. These memoirs-which represent a rare first-hand account of medieval European manners, morals, politics, and medicine written by a non-European-offers new perspective and insight into an important point of military and cultural contact between the East and West. In his introduction, translator Philip Hitti writes, "Ancient Arabic literature has preserved for us other biographies, memoirs, and reminiscences by great men, but there is hardly anything superior to this one in its simplicity of narrative, dignity, and wealth of contents and general human interest.
Section I 1. Fighting Against the Franks 2. Usamah's First Sojourn in Damascus 3. Usamah in Egypt 4. Usamah's Second Sojourn in Damascus 5. Battles Against Franks and Moslems 6. Adventures with Lions and Other Wild Animals 7. Other War Experiences 8. An Appreciation of the Frankish Character 9. Sundry Experiences and Observations Section II 1. Stories of Holy Men 2. Noteworthy Cures Section III 1. Hunting in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Egypt 2. Usamah's Father as a Hunter Index
Richard W. Bulliet is professor of history at Columbia University. A former Guggenheim fellow, he has authored books on technology, The Camel and the Wheel (Columbia); and on Middle East History, Islam: The View from the Edge (Columbia). He is also the author of four novels of mystery and intrigue.
"Usamah's vivid accounts coupled with Hitti's masterful translation makes "An Arab-Syrian Gentleman" a read of pure pleasure and delight, deserving of the many reprints past, and many more to come." -- Dana Sajdi, "Arab Studies Journal"