Several correspondents have recently asked me about the history and character of Islamic imperialism, conquest, and terror across the centuries. In my lectures on Islam, I often refer to the fact that no nation has ever willingly converted to Islam. Every scrap of land, every person, every tribe, and every country currently under Muslim dominion was forcibly conquered and brought into submission--which prfobably should not surprise us since "submission" is actually the meaning of the word "Islam." This is a fact, however, often denied by modern historiography--citing the isolated and unusual instances of Malaysia and Indonesia which were conquered, but by Muslim pirates rather than by Muslim armies.
These two thoroughly documented books, one focusing on Muhammad's life and teachings and the other focusing on the history of the movement following his demise, help to give the plain historical facts new currency. Both books put an effective end to the notions that Islam is a noble religion of peace and that there ever has been an Islamic "golden age." Karsh, a professor of Mediterranean Studies at King's College in London and Craig Winn, a dotcom entrepreneur and widely published author, have assembled a massive amount of research--sure fodder for future academic inquiry.