The First Muslim by Lesley Hazleton
The Story of Muhammad

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Readers irritated by such straining for a contemporary tone will find it offset by much useful and fascinating context on everything from the economics of the Meccan caravan trade to the pre-Islamic lineage of prophets...
-NY Times

Synopsis

The extraordinary life of the man who founded Islam, and the world he inhabited—and remade.

Lesley Hazleton's new book, Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto, is out now from Riverhead Books.

Muhammad’s was a life of almost unparalleled historical importance; yet for all the iconic power of his name, the intensely dramatic story of the prophet of Islam is not well known. In The First Muslim, Lesley Hazleton brings him vibrantly to life. Drawing on early eyewitness sources and on history, politics, religion, and psychology, she renders him as a man in full, in all his complexity and vitality.

Hazleton’s account follows the arc of Muhammad’s rise from powerlessness to power, from anonymity to renown, from insignificance to lasting significance. How did a child shunted to the margins end up revolutionizing his world? How did a merchant come to challenge the established order with a new vision of social justice? How did the pariah hounded out of Mecca turn exile into a new and victorious beginning? How did the outsider become the ultimate insider?

Impeccably researched and thrillingly readable, Hazleton’s narrative creates vivid insight into a man navigating between idealism and pragmatism, faith and politics, nonviolence and violence, rejection and acclaim. The First Muslim illuminates not only an immensely significant figure but his lastingly relevant legacy.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Lesley Hazleton

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LESLEY HAZLETON reported on the Middle East from Jerusalem for more than a dozen years, and has written for Time, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and Harper's, among other publications. Her last book, After the Prophet, was a finalist for the PENUSA Book Award. Hazleton lives in Seattle.
 
Published January 24, 2013 by Riverhead Books. 383 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The First Muslim
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Hari Kunzru on Apr 05 2013

Readers irritated by such straining for a contemporary tone will find it offset by much useful and fascinating context on everything from the economics of the Meccan caravan trade to the pre-Islamic lineage of prophets...

Read Full Review of The First Muslim: The Story o... | See more reviews from NY Times

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Drew Toal on Jan 29 2013

Hazleton's biography covers the broad strokes of his life with fairness — she doesn't gloss over his more fallible moments — and insight, but the book is important for trying to explain just who he really was.

Read Full Review of The First Muslim: The Story o... | See more reviews from NPR

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Judith Reveal on Jan 24 2013

...The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad reflects the detailed research she has completed in her previous books.

Read Full Review of The First Muslim: The Story o... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

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