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  • Alexandria

  • The City That Changed the World
  • By: Islam Issa
  • Narrated by: Islam Issa
  • Length: 20 hrs and 15 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Alexandria

By: Islam Issa
Narrated by: Islam Issa
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Publisher's Summary

An original, authoritative and lively cultural history of the first modern city, from pre-Homeric times to the present day.

My dad had always told me about our city's magnificence, and as I looked at the new library in Alexandria it finally hit home. This is no ordinary library, I reflected. And this is no ordinary city.

Combining rigorous research with myth and folklore, Alexandria is an authoritative history of a city that has shaped our modern world. Soon after being founded by Alexander the Great, Alexandria became the crucible of cultural exchange between East and West for millennia and the undisputed global capital of knowledge. It was at the forefront of human progress, but it also witnessed brutal natural disasters, plagues, crusades and violence.

Major empires fought over Alexandria, from the Greeks and Romans to the Arabs, Ottomans, French and British. Key figures shaped the city from its eponymous founder to Aristotle, Cleopatra, Saint Mark the Evangelist, Napoleon Bonaparte and many others, each putting their own stamp on its identity and its fortunes. And millions of people have lived in this bustling seaport on the Mediterranean. From its humble origins to its dizzy heights and its latest incarnation, Islam Issa tells us the rich and gripping story of a city that changed the world.

©2023 Islam Issa (P)2023 Hodder & Stoughton Limited
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

'In Islam Issa's monumental and vividly imagined new tale of the city, Alexandria comes to life . . . Issa's Alexandria arrives at 2011's Arab Spring having covered more than two millennia in just over 400 pages - no mean feat. But his real success is the book's sense of personality. It ends with Issa walking through the modern city that now stands on the ancient site, passing its markets and Art Deco cinemas. He writes about the present as vividly as the storied past. This book is a fitting tribute to a city that has survived, changed and grown for so many centuries (Francesca Peacock)
Islam Issa's Alexandria is a fabulous book, in every sense of that word. It is a history of the city, of its multitudinous people, of its heroes and villains, of its Library and its Pharos, down through the ages to his own family and his life growing up there. It is a cornucopia of fascinating details, every page revealing a new delight. A work of brilliant and informed scholarship, as well as being a labour of love. It is as if Islam Issa was born to write this book. (Paul Strathern, author of The Medici)
Had things gone differently for Antony and Cleopatra, then today we would be lauding the glories of Alexandria instead of Rome. But Islam Issa refuses to see Alexandria as an also-ran and does a fine job in this book of guiding us through Alexandria's long, colourful, rarely peaceful, past. By evoking the splendours of its palaces, temples, libraries, churches, museums, synagogues, mosques, bazaars, dance halls and cafes, the book provides a multifaceted history of an enthralling city. (Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, author of Persians: the Age of the Great Kings)

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A Love Letter

Alexandria is a love letter to the home of the author's birth. Packed with information and history, Alexandria links events we've heard about in world history to this place, this root, what the author would probably call "the centre of the ancient world", because in his telling it has had such a vital place.
Islam Issa paints a portrait that takes us through the foundation, to a list of interesting characters, to changes in the make up of the world, and Alexandria's place in it, while at the same time drawing on a tour of the city by the author.
This is a great book, adding so much to put understanding of history, changes in the Middle East and the waning fortunes of the great empires of the world.
Highly recommended, plus a great narration by the author. Personally, this is a must-listen!

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