Max Rodenbeck writing in The Times Book Review has clobbered Bernard Lewis' new book on Islam (Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East) and has lavished praise on Fred Donner's (Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam).
About Lewis: "If it were only the present that Lewis perceived through a gently distorted mirror, this might not detract from his distinction as a historian. But he gets the past subtly wrong, too, often by omitting vital context."
About Donner: "This more sophisticated reading of history explains Islam not as a static doctrine, but as one that evolved from an ecumenical, syncretic, pietist and millenarian cult into a more dogmatic and exclusivist faith."
Bernard Lewis has never impressed us. We disliked his opacity, politics and his overall bombast and pomposity.