I usually have a hard time following history books – ironic, since I sometimes teach history! – and this was no exception, but if you normally enjoy history, it likely won’t be a problem for you.
If you’re looking for a brief overview of the history of Islam and Islamic society, this is definitely a good place to start.
Islam: A Short History is exactly what it purports to be: a very short, very condensed version of the history of Islam. Specifically, Armstrong has written an account of the political and historical aspects of Islam, from Muhammad’s life in Mecca and Medina, to the expansion of Islamic rule in Arabia, to the Crusades, and on to more recent developments such as the colonization of many Muslim countries by European nations.