Islam and the Making of Europe

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Almost 1300 years ago, when Europe was still deep in the Dark Ages, a tidal wave of Islamic vitality and military might swept over Spain and pressed toward the heart of the West. Islam was young and vibrant and rich, and the culture it built on the Iberian Peninsula was, for a time, dazzling.

Historian David Levering Lewis is out with a provocative new view: that Europe and the West might have been better off if Islam had swept over all of the continent.

Then and now, those sound like fighting words.

This hour, On Point: when Islam first met the West, and the long echo of that epic clash.Guests:

David Levering Lewis, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, is a professor at New York University and author of "God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215."

Christopher Dickey, Middle East Regional Editor and Paris Bureau Chief for Newsweek Magazine.

This program aired on February 4, 2008.


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