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God’s Shadow (Hardback)

Alan Mikhail

An explosive global history of Sultan Selim I and how he changed the course of global history.

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Long neglected in world history, the Ottoman Empire was a hub of flourishing intellectual fervor, geopolitical power, and enlightened pluralistic rule. At the helm of its ascent was the omnipotent Sultan Selim I (1470-1520), who, with the aid of his extraordinarily gifted mother, Gülbahar, hugely expanded the empire, propelling it onto the world stage.

Aware of centuries of European suppression of Islamic history, Alan Mikhail centers Selim’s Ottoman Empire and Islam as the very pivots of global history, redefining such world-changing events as Christopher Columbus’s voyages – which originated, in fact, as a Catholic jihad that would come to view Native Americans as somehow “Moorish” – the Protestant Reformation, and the transatlantic slave trade.

Drawing on previously unexamined sources and written in gripping detail, Mikhail’s groundbreaking account vividly recaptures Selim’s life and world. An historical masterwork, God’s Shadow radically reshapes our understanding of a world we thought we knew.

A leading historian of his generation, Alan Mikhail, Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at Yale University, has reforged our understandings of the past through his previous three prize-winning books on the history of Middle East.

Critic Reviews

Alan Mikhail is a very original and inventive historian.

Orhan Pamuk
Critic Reviews

The Ottoman Empire lurks behind much of the modern world. Alan Mikhail’s new book makes a great introduction to one of the key figures in Ottoman history, Sultan Selim I.

Mary Beard
Critic Reviews

The life of the Ottoman Sultan Selim I, as told by the gifted historian Alan Mikhail, is an astonishing and thrilling story, worthy of Game of Thrones . . . a radical revision of the narrative of modern history.

Stephen Greenblatt
Critic Reviews

Ageo-political tour de force in which the West’s vaunted primacy receives a deeply researched, much merited, long overdue recalibration of its historic, ethnocentric self-regard. God’s Shadow is a major learning experience.

David Levering Lewis, author of God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215
Critic Reviews

A stunning work of global history . . . Mikhail offers a bold and thoroughly convincing new way to think about the origins of the modern world . . . A tour de force.

Greg Grandin, author of The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World
Critic Reviews

Alan Mikhail astutely recovers the revealing life of a Turkish sultan who lived in the time of Columbus . . . By exploring the rivalry and mutual influence of Islam and Christianity in the past, Mikhail offers fresh insights on our world.

Alan Taylor, author of Thomas Jefferson’s Education