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Islamic World to 1500: Home

Books and Ebooks

Use our online catalog to find books and e-books (and DVDs).  You'll find many circulating books on Islam in the Stacks on the lower level, especially in the call number ranges DS 35-DS 38 and BP.  But check the online catalog also; we have more e-books than print books.  You can also access our catalog on Facebook; click the link for "Library search."

 Determine subject headings ("Islamic civilization," "Islamic empire," "Islamic countries--History," "Crusades") for your topic; the subject heading may not be what you expect.  Look for subdivisions by time (Islam--History--To 1500) or country (Islam--Africa--History).  The truncation symbol in the catalog is $; Islam$ retrieves "Islam," "Islamic," "Islamist," etc.


Here are a few titles that may be of interest (including some with primary sources):

 The New Cambridge Medieval History.  (D 117 .C300 1995, 7 volumes)

The Norton Anthology of World Religions. (BL 74 .N67 2015, 2 vols.; vol. 1 includes primary sources on Islam)

The Cambridge History of Islam.  Ed. P.M. Holt et al.  DS 35.6 .C3 1980

Christie, Niall.  Muslims and Crusaders:  Christianity’s Wars in the Middle East, 1095-1382, from the Islamic Sources.  NY:  Routledge, 2014.  (D 157 .C474 2014)

Classical Islam:  A Sourcebook of Religious Literature.  Ed. N. Calder at l.  (BP 89 .C56 2013)


Goffman, Faniel.  The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe.  (DR 486 .G622 2002)

Goody, Jack.  Islam in Europe.  (BP 65 .A100 G66 2004)

Hillebrand, Carol.  Crusades:  Islamic Perspectives.  NY:  Routledge, 2000.  DS38.6 .H555 2000

The History of Islam in Africa.  Ed. N. Levtzion and R. Pouwels.  Athens:  Ohio UP, 2000.  (BP 64 .A100 H62 2000)

Hourani, Albert.  A History of the Arab Peoples.  Cambridge:  Harvard UP, 2002.  (DS 37.7 .H67 1991)

Kennedy, Hugh.  Armies of the Caliphs.   (DS35.687 .K466 2001, also as e-book)

Lapidus, Ira M.  A History of Islamic Societies.  Cambridge UP, 1988.  (DS 38.53 .L37 1988)

Levi, Scott. Islamic Central Asia:  An Anthology of Historical Sources.  IU Press, 2010.  Available as an e-book.

Lindsay, James E.  Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World.  Westport CT:  Greenwood Press, 2005. (DS 36.855 .L56 2005)

Medieval Political Society:  A Sourcebook.  NY:  Free Press, 1963.  (JA 82 .L4; Part One, pp. 22-186, is "Political Philosophy in Islam")

Windows on the House of Islam:  Muslim Sources on Spirituality and Religious Life.   Ed. John Renard.  Berkeley:  U of California Press, 1998.  (BP 161.2 .W577 1988)

WorldCat: The WorldCat database in GALILEO lets you search nearly all US libraries.  You can then order books on interlibrary loan (ILL), by e-mail. Try to allow two weeks (we can usually get books within a week and articles in a couple of days, but some take a while). 

            As with the online catalog, determine the subject heading(s) for your topic. 

Tip:  Sometimes adding “Sources” as an additional subject term helps you find primary sources.


Use GALILEO to find articles.  For articles from scholarly journals, it’s usually better to select a specific database than to use the “Search GALILEO” box on the GALILEO home page (but that sometimes works).

 See our Quick Links  page for links to many GALILEO databases for History.  Usually the best databases for articles from History journals are Historical Abstracts and America: History & Life, but these cover mainly the period after 1450.  For this course, you may want to try the following:

             JSTOR - full text for many journals, all scholarly, up to about five years ago.  See below for tips.

            History Reference Center

            Academic Search Complete - a general database, but includes some good History journals

            ATLAS - the best database for Religion journals

 All journals in JSTOR for scholarly; for the other databases, click on the box that says “peer reviewed” or “scholarly journal” to restrict your search to scholarly journals.


Database searching tips: In most databases, you’ll be searching the article titles, abstracts (summaries), and subject terms (also called “descriptors”), rather than the full text; so use as few search terms as possible.  See our Reference library guide to review tips on database searching  and Boolean operators.


JSTOR tips:  Since JSTOR does search full text, it works differently.  Some tips on using JSTOR:

  • Use the "Advanced search."  You may want to limit by "Articles" and "History" (or you can include other disciplines, such as Religion).
  • Enclose phrases in quotation marks (e.g., "Arab Empire," "Abbasid Revolution").
  • Use the "Find" function (Ctrl-F) to locate the pages that contain your search term.


Some other databases that may be useful for this course:

Access World News (NewsBank) - to find recent articles from newspapers of other countries.  Select the country or region you want.

CQ Researcher - a good source for reports on current issues, such as ISIS (ISIL/Islamic State).  

Oxford Reference Online - has full text for many one-volume reference books (including the Oxford Dictionary of Islam), and a few multi-volume works such as the Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages (we also have this in print) and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology.

Journal Locator - if you have a citation for a journal article but need full text, Journal Locator will inform you whether we have full text in any of our 340 databases.  If not, consult the reference librarian.  We may have the journal on the shelf, or we can order an article (or book) you need on interlibrary loan.


This library research guide is designed for Dr. Shirley’s History 3305 class, “Islamic World to 1500.”


Most books on Islam will be in the call number ranges DS (for history and civilization) or BP (for religion).  Among the reference books relevant to Islam in Lewis Library are:


            The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World  (REF DS 35.53 .O955 2009, 6 volumes)

            The Islamic World Past and Present  (REF DS 35.53 .I866 2004, 3 vols.)

            The Muslim Diaspora. (REF BP 50 .J46 1999; 2 vols; vol. 1, 570-1550)

            The Cultural Atlas of Islam  (REF DS 36.85 .A39 1986)

            Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam (REF DS 37 .E52)


            The New Encyclopedia of Islam  (REF BP 40 .G42 2013; 2008 edition in Stacks)

            The Oxford Dictionary of Islam (REF BP 40 .O955 2003)

            The Muslim Almanac  (REF BP 40 .M83 1996)

            Historical Dictionary of Islamic Fundamentalism (REF BP 166.14 .F85 G85 2012; chronology on p. xlvii)

            The Qu’ran:  An Encyclopedia  (REF BP 133 .Q87 2006)


            Milestone Documents in World History (REF D 5 M53 2010, 4 vols.)

            Encyclopedia of Ancient History (REF D 54 .E53 2013, 13 vols.)

            Dictionary of the Middle Ages (REF D 114 .D5 1982, 13 vols.)

            Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages (REF D 114 .O94 2010, 4 vols.; also online in Oxford Reference Online, link below)

            Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (REF DF521 .O93 1991, 3 vols.)

            Historical Dictionary of the Crusades (REF D 155 .S533 2003)

            Encyclopedia of Asian History  (REF DS 31 .E53 1988, 6 vols.)

            Historical Dictionary of Saudi Arabia (REF DS 221 .P488 2003)

            Historical Dictionary of Iran  (REF DS 270 .L67 2007; chronology of "Islamic Period" 570-1477 pp xxvii-xxix)

            Europe 1450  to 1789 (REF D 209 .E977 2004, 2 vols.)

            Dictionary of Battles and Sieges (REF D 25 .J33 2007; other military history books in this area)


            Encyclopedia of Religion (REF BL 31 .E466 2005, 15 vols.; also online in Gale Virtual Reference Library, link below)

            Religions of the World (REF BL 80.3 .R455 2002, 4 vols.)

Web Sites

Remember that many Internet sources are unreliable; it’s usually better to use published sources (in print or online) than to Google or use Wikipedia.  But Dr. Shirley recommends the following online sources, so… Go crazy!


Internet Medieval Sourcebook


Internet Islamic History Sourcebook


Islam and Islamic Studies Resources 





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