City of Peace, City of BloodBook - 2014
For much of its extraordinary life Baghdad, the 'City of Peace' as it has been called almost since its foundation, has been one of the most violent cities on earth. As US troops entered in 2003, they became the latest participants in a turbulent history stretching back to the year 762, when Caliph Mansur's masons laid the first sun-baked bricks of his imperial capital. For 500 years Baghdad was the seat of the Abbasid Empire, a marvel of glittering palaces, magnificent mosques, Islamic colleges and teeming markets watered by the Tigris. This was the city of the mathematician Al Khwarizmi, who invented algebra; of Harun al Rashid, the caliph immortalised in many tales of Baghdad from A Thousand and One Nights ; of the great poet Abu Nuwas, whose playful verses scandalized society, and of dozens of other astronomers, doctors, musicians and explorers. It was also a thriving trading emporium that attracted merchants from Central Asia to the Atlantic, its economy envy of West and East alike.
Baghdad has been a city, too, of terrible hardships. It has been regularly beset by epidemics, famines and floods, by the terror of foreign invasions, military occupations and the brutal rule of strongmen, from capricious caliphs to Saddam Hussein. This, therefore, is also the history of those who have ruled Baghdad, and of those who have conquered it- Ottoman sultans, Persian shahs, the Mongol Hulagu, grandson of Genghis Khan, and of Tamerlane, Marlowe's 'Scourge of God', who in 1400 sacked the city and ordered the construction of 120 towers from 90,000 of his adversaries' severed heads. Equally, the book tells the compelling stories of the long-suffering masses, the ordinary men and women, from slaves to soldiers, who have lived and died in this turbulent place.
In this vivid new history of Baghdad - the first published in English in nearly a century - Justin Marozzi brings to life its whole tumultuous history, charting a captivating course through thirteen centuries of splendour and destruction.
Acclaim for Justin Marozzi
South From Barbary- Along the Slave Routes of the Libyan Sahara
'Justin Marozzi is that most precious rarity- a serious traveller who is also a real writer, with a wonderful feel for language, a gift for narrative and an enviable sensitivity and lightness of touch.' William Dalrymple
'The first significant journey across the Libyan interior for a generation . . . genuine exploration, the stuff from which all good travel books should be made.' Michael Asher, The Times Literary Supplement
Tamerlane- Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World
'Outstanding . . . Justin Marozzi is the most brilliant of the new generation of travelwriter-historians.' John Adamson, Sunday Telegraph (Books of the Year)
'He has brought the mighty warrior in from the cold and allowed him to stalk these pages with bloody magnificence.' Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times
The Man Who Invented History- Travels with Herodotus
' The Man Who Invented History . . . confirms Marozzi as a writer of real distinction and charm . . . This is a book of remarkable substance and style, brimming with humanity and self-deprecating humour.' Jeremy Seal, Sunday Telegraph
'He celebrates the wonders of the world with a life-grabbing energy that is never less than infectious'- so Marozzi praises his hero, but he might just as well have been describing himself . . . A very Herodotean book . . . entertaining, engaging and humane.' Tom Holland, The Times Literary Supplement