I have often read books that described the romantic process of learning where students studied in the day, and argued all night in cafes. For me, this process of argument where everything is challenged in a reasoned discussion is why I went to university. So imagine my delight at finding a book that took me back to a time when some of the greatest minds the world have ever known were rediscovering the ancient knowledge of Greece. The thinker Al-Farabi, the founder of Muslim Neoplatonism. The brilliant Persian polymath, Ibn Sina (Avicenna) who wrote the medieval canon on medicine. Also Ibn Rushd (Averroës), who commented on Aristotle. And among them, Moses Maimonides, the Jewish mystic whose writings remain a core element of Jewish law and culture . Scholarship flourished in the fields of medicine, philosophy, law, geography, architecture, and mathematics. Walking Drum first describes the process of translating the original document into Arabic, and then the intellectual synthesis with current understanding, but then the book goes further, by showing cross-cultural pollination as the Christian invaders of Spain are also exposed to these ideas. Viewed through the eyes of Kerbouchard (the main character), this magical world where an autodidact could learn anything and everything, had me writing down every book mentioned. As he states, "In knowledge lay not only power but freedom from fear, for generally speaking one only fears what one does not understand. It was a time when all knowledge lay open to him who would seek it, and a physician was often an astronomer, a geographer, a philosopher, and a mathematician." Wow.
Took a bit of adjusting, because the setting is so different. I'm used to L'Amour westerns. This setting is 1500's Europe. Nice read. 1st book in a planned series.
Louis L'amour: The walking drum, c -1984
Wow, a fantasic read, I hope Louis wrote a sketch of the last Book!!
Just plain Awesome to read, if you are a history buff this story is so much fun.
Don't try to blast right through it, you'll miss out. Louis had fun with this one.
Review by Richard Paul (Seattle Public Library)
Reviewed on May 19 2010
A fantastic read, however it was left on a cliff hanger. Mr. L'Amor didn't follow this up as he had promised so long ago; it is somewhat disappointing.
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