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Advance Praise
"After the Prophet is a remarkable and respectful telling of the story of Islam -- a tale of power, intrigue, rivalry, jealousy, assassination, manipulation, greed, and faith that would have made Machiavelli shudder (had he read it), but above all it is a very human story, told in a wonderfully novelistic style that puts most other, often dreary, explanations of the Shia-Sunni divide to shame."
-- Hooman Majd, author of The Ayatollah Begs to Differ
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"After the Prophet vividly recreates the personal rivalries and resentments that led to Islam's great schism in the immediate wake of Muhammad's death, and makes one understand how truly contemporary they are with our own time. Lesley Hazleton brings off the happy effect of turning the reader into a participant in the world she describes -- a world of long memories, where the deep past lives on in the present day, as if the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD was little more than an eyeblink away from the Ashura Massacre there in 2004.
My only regret is that Hazleton didn't write this terrific and necessary book in time to enlighten Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz et al, before they so unwisely invaded a land, and a religious culture, of which they were reprehensibly ignorant. I hope they read it now, with proper rue. Meanwhile, the rest of us can take pleasure in Hazleton's vigorously drawn characters, her lucid storytelling, and her enthralling, imaginative grasp of the roots and consequences of the Sunni-Shia divide. "
-- Jonathan Raban, author of My Holy War and Surveillance
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"Lesley Hazleton succeeds in bringing out the truly epic character of the Shia-Sunni split, telling the story with great empathy. The general Western reader will come away from this book with a newfound respect for the depth and power of the early schism in Islam and of what happened at Karbala."
-- Wilferd Madelung, University of Oxford Laudian Professor of Arabic, author of The Succession to Muhammad.
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"Whether or not George Bush even knew there were such things as Shias and Sunnis before invading Iraq, after reading Lesley Hazleton's gripping book no one will be able to plead ignorance about why the split between them happened and what it all means."
--Alan Wolfe, Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, author of The Future of Liberalism.
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"After the Prophet reads like a novel yet is historically accurate, fair and balanced. As the conflicts within the Islamic community continue to rage, every educated person should know something about the origin and history of the Sunni-Shia schism. This book not only describes it well, but in doing so provides a fine, highly readable history of Islam."
-- Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity, Harvard University, and author of The Future of Faith

September 15, 2009
from Doubleday