Lost History by Michael Hamilton Morgan introduces a deep analysis of relationship between relationship between the West and intellectual and cultural history of Islam. The author indicates that Muslim culture became the basis for the Renaissance in Europe, having influenced it greatly with its inventions, “creativity, great ideas, tolerance, and coexistence.” The book was inspired as a reflection of Muslim history and its importance that tended to be forgotten, disregarded and neglected, but after the 9/11 attack M. H. Morgan considered essential to share the Muslim history overview to facilitate grasping the idea of real Muslim history.
The book is intended to depict real history of Muslim civilization, its role in global history, rather than its religious influence. The key points of the book that could be interesting to today’s Army are chapters one and two, reviewing the history of Muslim army, commanders, and battles. Besides, Lost History should be regarded as a source for understanding Muslims as a nation, which could be used for profiling of American Muslims, and for evaluation and assessment of events and occurrences in Muslim countries.
The style and manner of writing is quite fascinating and attention-grabbing, while there is no regular timeline storytelling in Lost History: past and present are interconnected, showing how the Muslim empire managed to expand rapidly. Events of Muslim history are reflected in the book, showing impact of Muslim invaders on the European way of existence, for example, Muslims ‘invented’ the tactics and weaponry of “the armored knight on horseback”, not the Europeans. It is emphasized that most of people around the globe, including American Muslims, know little about actual Muslim history and culture, etc., because of the stereotype thinking that Muslim countries are barbaric, with low level of intelligence and high tendency for destruction. The author’s primary goal was to bring up the historical justice to Muslim culture, proving that without its impact no European Renaissance or Enlightenment would ever be possible, and the same goes for industrial and scientific revolutions, as currently “the intellectual contributions of Arabs, Persians, Indians, Chinese, Africans, and others in the Muslim world are related to mere footnotes”.
The first two chapters are devoted to the Muslim history, interconnecting modern Muslim history and family stories with the history of expansion of the Muslim empire, lessons learned and taught by the Muslim army. Chapter three introduces great mathematicians, comparing them from the historic and modern perspectives, telling various stories of Arabian and Indian mathematicians and astronomers. Among numerous mathematicians, Khawārizmī is emphasized to be one of the most important figures in the history of mathematics and astronomy. Chapter four is dedicated to the famous poet, mathematician and astronomer Omar Khayyām, who went far beyond his time in his findings. The story of precursors of present-day flying, Armen Firman ibn Faris and Ahmed Çelebi, is analyzed in chapter five.
Chapter six dwells on the issue of healthcare, showing how modern obstetricians are still using inventions of al-Zahrāwī, who designed numerous medical tools for dentistry and obstetrics, and made a great deal of inventions in the field of pharmaceuticals. Chapter seven indicates the architectural pieces and landmarks built by the Muslims, and their impact on development and popularity of music in Europe. “Enlighted leadership” reflects on the examples of Muslim leadership, praising social fairness, national / ethnic / national tolerance, advanced public healthcare. Among the most known leaders Caliph Abū Bakr, Hārūn al-Rashīd, Razia Sultana etc., are reviewed. The greatest ruler of the Ottoman Empire – Sultan Suleiman I – is recognized in this chapter, and his history of ruling concludes the chapter.
This book suggests to give a thorough thought not only to the Muslim culture, but to the issue of defining the cause of decline of the “early inventive cultures”, as lessons of history should be learned. This book should be highly recommended for today’s Army officers as a source for broadening of their knowledge and proper understanding of Muslim culture (in case of American Muslim soldiers or deployment into the Muslim countries). Battle experience and history of Muslim expansion could be used and projected to be implemented in the foreign policy and military strategy of the U.S.