Pathfinders - The Golden Age of Arabic Science by Jim Al-Khalili as the title suggests is mainly a book about the misconception that the 'Dark Ages' produced little scientific advancement may be partly true for european science but possibly not by science in the Near- and Middle East.
Early parts of the book have quite a bit about his personal connection to this topic coming from Iraq originally- possibly a little too much of it; but it does help to make the book more accessible. The contributions of various scholars during this Golden period are highlighted, suggesting that directly or indirectly, scientists during and since the European Renaissance were heavily influence by the works of earlier Islamic scholars (as well as Greek and Indian).
The book ends with some discussion about why there has been a decline from this golden age in the science output in Islamic countries and some suggest some reasons. The book ends positively about the future in these countries and with some issues for the western countries to consider though about religions dictating scientific research. Science as a gradual process, that builds on the work of others comes through as a strong theme.
It is a good read, with some interesting insights.
Another book (and accompany video) that I would highly recommend is 1001 Inventions (see links below) - I liked it so much I bought a friend a copy and lent my copy of the Pathfinders book.
To read other reviews: