The Odyssey of Ibn Battuta
Uncommon Tales of a Medieval Adventurer
By David Waines
(University of Chicago Press, Paperback, 9780226869865, 226pp.)
Publication Date: July 2010
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Ibn Battuta was, without doubt, one of the world's truly great travelers. Born in fourteenth-century Morocco, and a contemporary of Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta left an account in his own words of his remarkable journeys, punctuated by adventure and peril, throughout the Islamic world and beyond. Whether sojourning in Delhi and the Maldives, wandering through the mazy streets of Cairo and Damascus, or contesting with pirates and shipwreck, the indefatigable Ibn Battuta brought to vivid life a medieval world brimming with marvel and mystery. Carefully observing the great diversity of civilizations that he encountered, Ibn Battuta exhibited an omnivorous interest in such matters as food and drink; religious differences among Christians, Hindus, and Shia Muslims; and ideas about purity and impurity, disease, women, and sex.
David Waines offers here a graceful analysis of Ibn Battuta's travelogue. This is a gripping treatment of the life and times of one of history's most daring, and at the same time most human, adventurers.