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In the Name of God

In this groundbreaking book, Selina O’Grady examines how and why the post-Christian and the Islamic worlds came to be as tolerant or intolerant as they are. She asks whether tolerance can be expected to heal today’s festering wound between these two worlds, or whether something deeper than tolerance is needed.

Told through contemporary chronicles, stories and poems, Selina O’Grady takes the reader through the intertwined histories of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish persecutors and persecuted. From Umar, the seventh century Islamic caliph who laid down the rules for the treatment of religious minorities in what was becoming the greatest empire the world has ever known, to Magna Carta John who seriously considered converting to Islam; and from al-Wahhab, whose own brother thought he was illiterate and fanatical, but who created the religious-military alliance with the house of Saud that still survives today, to Europe’s bloody Thirty Years war that wearied Europe of murderous inter-Christian violence but probably killed God in the process.

This book is an essential guide to understanding Islam and the West today and the role of religion in the modern world.

Band of Angels

In Band of Angels, Kate Cooper tells the surprising story of early Christianity from the woman’s point of view. Though they are often forgotten, women from all walks of life played an invaluable role in Christianity’s growth to become a world religion.

Peasants, empresses, and independent businesswomen contributed what they could to an emotional revolution unlike anything the ancient world had ever seen. By mobilizing friends and family to spread the word from household to household, they created a wave of change not unlike modern ‘viral’ marketing.

For the most part, women in the ancient world lived out their lives almost invisibly in a man’s world. Piecing together their history from the few contemporary accounts that have survived requires painstaking detective work. Yet a careful re-reading of ancient sources yields a vivid picture, and shows how daily life and the larger currents of history shaped one another.

This remarkable book tells the story of how a new way of understanding relationships took root in the ancient world. By sharing the ideas that had inspired them, ancient women changed their own lives. But they did something more: they changed the world around them, and in doing so, they created an enduring legacy. Their story is a testament to what invisible people can achieve, and to how the power of ideas can change history.