By Bernard Lewis
The history of an extremist Islamic sect in the 11th-12th centuries whose terrorist methods gave the English language a new word: assassin.The word 'Assassin' was brought back from Syria by the Crusaders, and in time acquired the meaning of murderer. Originally it was applied to the members of a Muslim religious sect - a branch of the Ismailis, and the followers of a leader known as the Old Man of the Mountain. Their beliefs and their methods made them a by-word for both fanaticism and terrorism in Syria and Persia in the 11th and 12th centuries, and the subject of a luxuriant growth of myth and legend.In this book, Bernard Lewis begins by tracing the development of these legends in medieval and modern Europe and the gradual percolation of accurate knowledge concerning the Ismailis. He then examines the origins and activities of the sect, on the basis of contemporary Persian and Arabic sources, and against the background of Middle Eastern and Islamic history. In a final chapter he discusses some of the political, social and economic implications of the Ismailis, and examines the significance of the Assassins in the history of revolutionary and terrorist movements.
The Age of Reconnaissance
By J H Parry
An enthralling account of the greatest adventure in European history - the discovery of the rest of the worldThe Age of Reconnaissance, as J. H. Parry so aptly named it, was the period in which Europe discovered the rest of the world. It began with Henry the Navigator and the Portuguese voyages in the mid-fifteenth century and ended 250 years later when the 'reconnaissance' was all but complete. This book is less concerned with the voyages of discovery themselves than with an analysis of the factors that made the voyages possible in the first place. Dr Parry examines the inducements - political, economic, religious - to overseas enterprises at the time, and analyses the nature and problems of the various European settlements in the new lands.At the beginning of the period central to this book, the middle of the fifteenth century, the normal educated man believed that the Ancients were more civilized, more elegant, wiser and, except in religious matters, better informed than his contemporaries. But gradually as the reconnaissance proceeded, the European picture became fuller and more detailed and with it the idea of continually expanding knowledge became more familiar and the links between science and practical life became closer. The unprecedented power which it produced would eventually lead Europe from reconnaissance to worldwide conquest.
Another Bloody Century
By Colin S. Gray
How the wars of the near future will be fought and who will win themMany nations, peoples and special interest groups believe that violence will advance their cause. Warfare has changed greatly since the Second World War; it continued to change during the late 20th century and this process is still accelerating. Political, technological, social and religious forces are shaping the future of warfare, but most western armed forces have yet to evolve significantly from the cold war era when they trained to resist a conventional invasion by the Warsaw Pact. America is now the only superpower, but its dominance is threatened by internal and external factors. The world's most hi-tech weaponry seems helpless in the face of determined guerrilla fighters not afraid to die for their beliefs.Professor Colin Gray has advised governments on both sides of the Atlantic and in ANOTHER BLOODY CENTURY, he reveals what sort of conflicts will affect our world in the years to come.