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Read: "The Contest of Christian and Muslim Spain 1031-1157" by Bernard F. Reilly. At the beginning of this time period the muhammadans were on top in their occupation of Spain/Portugal. At the end, the Christians were in the drivers seat in taking back their lands. Portugal would split off from Leon-Castille to become a new Kingdom. Aragon had finally become a power to be reckoned with. The author covers the economic, military, Religious, Social, and Political changes by both sides that would lead to a Christian victory in spite of muhammadans reinforcements from North Africa. This would take to 1492. Very Good and Recommended.
Read; "The Succession to Muhammad: A Sturdy of the Early Caliphate" by Wilferd Madelung. This is a comprehensive and original study of the early history of muhammadanism. It covers the 30 years from the death of muhammad in 632A.D.. This is the period of the four 'Rightly Guided' caliphs, the civil wars that led to muhammadanism splitting into Sunnite and Shi'ite factions and the founding of the Umayyad caliphate. Later it split even further. Very Good and Recommended. Note: Can be very deep and dry.
"The Long Sunset" by Jack McDevitt. A SF novel on the Hutch Hutchins book series. The world is shutting down any space exploration to discover new worlds and Alien life out of fear it could lead "bad" aliens back to Earth. A message is picked up from 7000 light years away and a mission with Hutch is sent to investigate. What Hutch and her crew find is totally unexpected. Just Okay.
I've recently started "A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War" by Joseph Loconte. It explores how WWI influenced both JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis in their choices of topics and worlds to describe.
Read: "Strange Music" by Alan Dean Foster. A Pip & Flinx SF novel. It has been awhile since the last Pip & Flinx book. Flinx is off on another adventure to a water world inhabited by sentient like-seal people. They communicate by singing to each other. This world has primitive tech but someone in violation of Commonwealth laws is importing advance weapon tech and stirring up a possible all out war among its people. Flinx is sent in undercover to find this individual and bring him/her back for justice. Very Good and Recommended.
Read: "Muslim Expansion and Byzantine Collapse in North Africa" by Walter E. Kaegi.This is a military history of the above. Who "lost" Christian North Africa? Who won it and how? The author tries to explain this in this book. Covers all the usual suspects. The muhammandan conquest was so though that no indigenous people are left as in the Middle East for example. There are practically no written records by these peoples, therefore not a lot to explain this. The author speculates on the probabilities. Very Good and Recommended.