The Cambridge History of Islam

2 volume work on the history of Islam

Volume I of The Cambridge History of Islam

The Cambridge History of Islam is a two volume history of Islam published by Cambridge University Press in 1970[1] and edited by Peter Holt, Ann K.S. Lambton, and Bernard Lewis. It was reprinted in 1977 with amendments and each volume divided into two for ease of use. It was replaced by the six-volume New Cambridge History of Islam in 2010.[2]

Aims and reception

The work was designed for undergraduate and graduate students who wanted an authoritative account of the history of Islam, and for the intelligent layman who enjoyed history. The editors also hoped that it would appeal to the "expert orientalist" and would be used for continuous reading rather than as a work of reference.[3][4]

Reviewers agreed that the history was solid but unexciting with a generally cautious approach and lack of analysis, typical they felt, of the multi-authored history that represented a distillation of the consensus in a field rather than one that sought to explore new avenues of enquiry.[3][4]


All volumes edited by Peter Holt, Ann K.S. Lambton, and Bernard Lewis.

1970 edition

  • Volume 1, The Central Islamic Lands
  • Volume 2, The Further Islamic Lands, Islamic Society and Civilization

1977 reprint

  • Volume 1A, The Central Islamic Lands from Pre-Islamic Times to the First World War
  • Volume 1B, The Central Islamic Lands since 1918
  • Volume 2A, The Indian Sub-Continent, South-East Asia, Africa and the Muslim West
  • Volume 2B, Islamic Society and Civilisation


  1. ^ Monumental "New Cambridge History of Islam" Hailed as a Milestone in Islamic Studies. Islam Today, 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  2. ^ The New Cambridge History of Islam Ed by Michael Cook et al: review. Noel Malcolm, The Telegraph, 6 February 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Reviewed Work: The Cambridge History of Islam by P. M. Holt, Ann K. S. Lambton, Bernard Lewis", V.E. Hitchins, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, No. 2 (1973), p. 160.
  4. ^ a b "Reviewed Work: The Cambridge History of Islam", Robert L. Tignor, The American Historical Review, Vol. 77, No. 1 (February 1972), pp. 116-117.
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