Born in Dunfermline, Scotland. Education: Attended University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
Writer and public speaker. Freelance travel writer, c. 1997—. Previously worked in publishing, for the Afghanistan Support Committee, as a tutor on a Greek island, as a barman, and in the restoration of grottoes and the construction of garden temples.
Morocco, illustrations by Pauline Pears, Globe Pequot Press (Chester, CT), 1989, revised and updated edition, 2004.
(With Rose Baring) Tunisia, illustrations by Lucy Miln, Cadogan Books (London, England), 1992.
Cyprus, Globe Pequot Press (Old Saybrook, CT), 1994.
(With Rose Baring) Essential Istanbul, Passport Books (Lincolnwood, IL), 1994.
A Traveller's History of North Africa, Interlink Books (New York, NY), 1998.
(Editor, with Stephen Lavington) Marrakech: The Red City, Sickle Moon (London, England), 2003.
(Editor) London: A Collection of Poetry of Place, Baring & Rogerson Books (London, England), 2003.
The Prophet Muhammad: A Biography, HiddenSpring (Mahwah, NJ), 2003.
The Heirs of the Prophet Muhammad: And the Roots of the Sunni-Shia Schism, Little Brown (London, England), 2006, published as The Heirs of Muhammad: Islam's First Century and the Origins of the Sunni-Shia Schism, Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 2007.
(Editor, with Rose Baring) Meetings with Remarkable Muslims: A Collection of Travel Writing, Eland (London, England), 2006.
Barnaby Rogerson is writer who has specialized in travel articles and books focusing on North Africa and the lands of the old Ottoman Empire. Because of these areas of geographic interest, he has also written about the Muslim religion. Among Rogerson's first travel books is the travel guide Morocco, which includes illustrations by Pauline Pears. In a review of the updated and revised edition, Reviewer's Bookwatch contributor Willis M. Buhle commented: "Of special note is the wealth of ideas and advice for planning a trip."
In addition to writing travel guides, the author also provides historical books on travel destinations. For example, in A Traveller's History of North Africa, Rogerson focuses on the histories of Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia, from the days of ancient Greece and Rome to the Ottoman Empire and the ancestors of today's government leaders. The book includes maps and illustrations. David Cline, writing in Booklist, commented that A Traveller's History of North Africa "succeeds in being both detailed and quite manageable as a quick, on-the-ground read." Library Journal contributor Ravi Shenoy wrote that the author "shows a mastery of his subject in this clear and literate history."
Rogerson is also the editor, with Stephen Lavington, of Marrakech: The Red City, an anthology of travel writings about the Moroccan city. Among the writers included are George Orwell, Elias Canetti, and Horatio Clare. In a review in the Library Journal, Edward K. Owusu-Ansah noted that the various essays present "diverse yet subtle themes."
Rogerson turns his attention to the Muslim religion with The Prophet Muhammad: A Biography. Designed for a Western audience, the biography not only recounts the life of Muhammad but also delves into various aspects of the Muslim religion, from its various cultural practices to the idea of jihad, or holy war. Comparing the book to other biographies of Muhammad, Tara Pepper wrote in Newsweek International that the author "delves deeper, into the spiritual and moral framework of the prophet's life" and later in the same review noted "Rogerson's lush, lively description of how a new world religion grew from the life of a single remarkable man."
In The Heirs of Muhammad: Islam's First Century and the Origins of the Sunni-Shia Schism, published in Great Britain as The Heirs of the Prophet Muhammad: And the Roots of the Sunni-Shia Schism, Rogerson delves into the deep schism between the two Muslim sects that has formed the basis for much of the violence in Iraq following the U.S. invasion in 2003. Focusing on five decades following the prophet Muhammad's death, Rogers explores how differences grew within the Muslim religion, noting that the Sunni-Shia factions' differences first grew over their belief concerning where the Prophet died—with the Shias saying he died in the arms of a nephew and the Sunnis arguing that he was in the arms of his favorite wife—and then because of the bitter political intrigue and deceit among Muhammad's followers and between the Arabian towns of Mecca and Medina. In The Heirs of Muhammad, Rogerson also chronicles the rise and falls of several of the caliphs who followed Muhammad and describes the women who were part of Muhammad's harem, who, according to Geographical contributor Jason Goodwin, "were instrumental in confirming and expounding his customs and sayings" of the religion.
A Kirkus Reviews contributor called The Heirs of Muhammad "a well-crafted glimpse into the origins and early years of Islam, even then torn by dissension and violence." A Publishers Weekly reviewer referred to the book as a "charming and captivating chronicle."
Rogerson and coeditor Rose Baring present thirty-nine essays by a variety of writers in the book Meetings with Remarkable Muslims: A Collection of Travel Writing, produced in part by the editors to dispel stereo-types about Muslims. Among the book's contributors are Jason Elliot, Tim Dalrymple, Marius Kociejowski, and Emily Young. Each of the stories features encounters with Muslims, from a man living in a Casablanca slum to Ali Bulent, a onetime Turkish prince. Anthony Sattin, writing in the Spectator, commented that "this deliciously varied anthology … affirm[s] that the love affair between British writers and the Islamic world is far from over."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
African Business, February, 2002, Stephen Williams, "North Africa Travel," p. 49; March 10, 2003, November, 2006, review of Marrakech: The Red City, p. 81.
Booklist, October 15, 1998, David Cline, review of A Traveller's History of North Africa, p. 392; November 1, 2006, Bryce Christensen, "Islam, Yesterday and Today," p. 9.
Geographical, April, 2006, Jason Goodwin, review of The Heirs of the Prophet Muhammad: And the Roots of the Sunni-Shia Schism, p. 81.
Guardian (London, England), January 7, 2006, Reza Aslan, review of The Heirs of the Prophet Muhammad.
Library Journal, October 15, 1998, Ravi Shenoy, review of A Traveller's History of North Africa, p. 88; March 15, 2004, Edward K. Owusu-Ansah, review of Marrakech, p. 97; March 15, 2006, Ravi Shenoy, review of Meetings with Remarkable Muslims: A Collection of Travel Writing, p. 88; December 1, 2006, April Younglove, review of The Heirs of Muhammad: Islam's First Century and the Origins of the Sunni-Shia Schism, p. 140.
Middle East, May, 2006, Fred Rhodes, review of Meetings with Remarkable Muslims, p. 65; January, 2007, Fred Rhodes, review of Marrakech, p. 65.
Middle East Journal, spring, 2006, Jacqueline Barbera, review of Meetings with Remarkable Muslims.
Newsweek International, March 10, 2003, Tara Pepper, review of The Prophet Muhammad: A Biography, p. 54.
Publishers Weekly, November 13, 2006, review of The Heirs of Muhammad, p. 52.
Reference & Research Book News, February, 2007, review of Marrakech.
Reviewer's Bookwatch, December, 2004, Willis M. Buhle, review of Morocco.
Spectator, November 19, 2005, Anthony Sattin, review of Meetings with Remarkable Muslims, p. 60.
Asian Review of Books,http://www.asianreviewofbooks.com/ (March 22, 2006), Peter Gordon, review of Heirs of the Prophet.
Travel Intelligence,http://www.travelintelligence.net/ (August 29, 2007), brief profile of author.