In the year 711, a small Berber army under Arab leadership crossed the Straits of Gibraltar from Morocco and, in the following year, defeated the army of Spain, slaying its king. Within a matter of a few years only, the whole of the Iberian peninsula was theirs and the course of Western civilization was transformed. For nearly a thousand years, the Islamic presence they planted in Spain survived - at times flourishing, at others dwindling into warring, fratricidal fiefdoms. But the culture and science they brought with them - including long-buried knowledge from Greece, forgotten in Europe's Dark Ages - was to have an even more enduring impact. Now, in a book as gracefully written as it is compellingly narrated, Richard Fletcher reveals that culture in all its fascinating disparity, telling as much about the differing waves of Islamic conquest and immigration (and, thereby, about a thousand years of Islamic history in North Africa and the Middle East) as about the culture and history of Spain itself. In the,tradition of Steven Runciman's elegant histories of the Crusades and John Julius Norwich's engrossing accounts of Venice and Byzantium, Richard Fletcher's Moorish Spain entertains even as it enlightens. It is history at its best: wonderful storytelling by a true and recognized scholar writing with wit and style.