This edition, translated by Michael Biggins, in the first-ever English translation. Alamut. Front Cover. Vladimir Bartol. North Atlantic Books, – Fiction – A review, and links to other information about and reviews of Alamut by Vladimir Bartol. Written: (Eng. ). Length: pages. Original in: Slovenian. Alamut is a novel by Vladimir Bartol, first published in in Slovenian, dealing with the story of Hassan-i Sabbah and the Hashshashin, and.

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Alamut by Vladimir Bartol First Published in: With parallels to Osama bin Laden, Alamut tells the story of how Sabbah was able to instill fear into the ruling class by creating a small army of devotees who were willing to kill, and be killed, in order to achieve paradise.

Following the attacks of September 11,the book once again took on a new life, selling more than 20, copies in a new Slovenian edition, and being translated around the world in more than 19 languages. This edition, translated by Michael Biggins, in the first-ever English translation.

The Alamut of the title is a remote fortress in 11th century Persia where a charismatic leader Hasan ibn Sabbah is training his own army of devoted Feyadeen young men who are willing to kill and die for him alone as they believe he has the keys to paradise with this army he plans to turn himself into the prophet al Mahdi and to gain control of the entire region in the name of his people the Ismaili.


1001 Book Review: Alamut Vladimir Bartol

The story is told through the eyes of 3 central characters: The setting is enchanting and the narrative reads almost like a fairy tale, however this is a book with a purpose. It is a historically informative book explaining in bwrtol terms the differences between the Sunni and Shiite Muslims without taking sides and without demonizing anyone.

While it is clear Hasan is not a good man, the people who follow him are individuals with their own reasons, motivations and understanding. That said, this was a good read and I would recommend it to others. Alamut has the tone and structure reminiscent of fantasy and fairy tales, but it is anything but fantasy and is based loosely on historical events.

I really enjoyed this book for a variety of reasons. I found the storytelling compelling and it drew me in immediately. The style seems similar to that found in fantasy novels but the amount of historical detail and research pulls it out of the realm of fantasy into social commentary and historical fiction.

Bartol creatures a terrifying picture of how cult-like fanaticism is created and maintained. He also presents readers with an interesting history of conflict between Shiites and Sunnis. The speaker was a psychologist who has spend time researching various terrorist groups including the Tamil Tigers. He spoke about the psychological reasons why these groups exist and are so successful in recruitment of followers.


Bartol highlighted those same factors in his book giving us a glimpse into why people become radicalized. Bartol took years to write this book and initially tried to dedicate the book to Benito Mussolini. He could have easily have dedicated it to any modern day tyrant. Reblogged this on Book Reviews and Author Interviews. You are commenting using your WordPress.

Book Review: Alamut Vladimir Bartol | The Reader’s Room

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