Library Journal’s Barbara Hoffert chose The First Muslim as one of her picks for January 2013. This is what she wrote:
Understanding Islam would seem to mean understanding the life, the times, and the beliefs of its founder, but there don’t seem to be a lot of universally acknowledged biographies of Muhammad around. I’ll go out on a limb to highlight this one, because Hazleton, who reported on the Middle East for over a dozen years, wrote the well-regarded After the Prophet: the epic story of the Shia-Sunni split, a PEN-USA Book Award finalist that won praise from several quarters. Hazleton aims to examine how the man Muhammad — an orphan, a merchant, and an exile — upended the established order and became the Prophet. Keep your eyes peeled.
No comment on that phrase “universally acknowledged,” but to get such a nice nod so far ahead of publication is much appreciated.