For three centuries after 1500, Britain was brought face to face with Islam through the activities of the Barbary corsairs. Muslim ships based in North African ports terrorized European shipping, enslaving hundreds of thousands of Christians. Encountering Islam is the fascinating story of one Englishman’s experience of life within a Muslim society, as both Christian slave and Muslim soldier.
Paul Auchterlonie read Arabic at Oxford in the late 1960s before training as a librarian at the University of London. He then worked for forty years as a librarian, specialising in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, first at the School of Oriental and African Studies, then at the University of Lancaster, and from 1981 to 2011 was librarian in charge of the Middle East collections at the University of Exeter. He is the author and editor of numerous works on Middle Eastern bibliography and library science, and has published articles on historical and cultural relations between Britain and the Middle East, including the first substantial study of Joseph Pitts, the first Englishman known to have made the pilgrimage to Mecca. He served for many years as Chair of the Middle East Libraries Committee (MELCOM-UK), and was founding Secretary of MELCOM International.