Students who are really interested in dipping into early Arabic science will be disappointed in this chronological parade of caliphs, empires, power shifts, cities and cultures. Even the material on science and scientists is largely names and titles. The legendary Jabir (Geber) is allotted only three flatly summarizing paragraphs; there are a few anecdotes about the physician Rhazes, some praise for Maimonides and lists of others' significant achievements and discoveries, but Hoyt never gets into the content of their work. This might have a function as a source on an out of the way subject, but is probably less useful than the relevant entries in standard reference books. And it's a pity that Hoyt has made this fascinating subject so lifeless.