I will not say this book is uninformative. It is, overall, a useful summary of SOME events leading to the Crusades and a description of battles, timetable, etc.
But the author's main purpose seem to be to counter some idiotic statements and actions by some in the west "apologizing" for the Crusades or saying that there was no "justification" for them -- as though the Crusades could be apologized for or needed justifications. The trouble is that, in the process of countering this foolishness, the author engages in what can only be called "spin" -- presenting questionable statements, half-truths or opinions for fact.
For example, in trying to say that the Islamic world did not support new learning because what learning there was was being done by the peoples the Moslems conquered. But the fact is that such learning WAS occurring, unlike in the West. The author says that the European Dark Ages were really not so dark because the invention of the plough, cross-bow, and other technical developments took. A discussion of the advantages of the plough includes more grain, thus more food, thus a larger and healthier population. He does not mention the global warming that occurred during this time that probably played greater role in increased food. He discusses massacres of monks (Byzantine) and pilgrims by Moslems but doesnt discuss, for example, the reported massacre of 2000 Muslim prisoners by Richard the Lionhearted or the killings of Europeans by the Byzantines in Constantinople in 1182.
There are many other discussable or equivocal statements, from the importance and use of crossbows to the killings of Jews by the Crusaders (which to me sounds minimized by the author when they were a horrible occurrance) at the starts of the Crusades. This has to be counted as "spin".
A perhaps useful book to start discussion, but not one to be taken as accurate in its particulars.
This work hits several myths about the Crusades head on and provides historical evidence to expose their errors:
* The myths of why the RC Church called for the 1st Crusade
* The myth of the victimized peace-loving Muslims minding their own business
* The myth of the Crusader as a blood-thirsty, raping, greedy mercenary.
* The myth of Saladin the Noble Warrior
* The myths surrounding the Fall of Jerusalem
Stark is a fearless iconoclast when it comes to the myths progressives invent to support their anti-Western narrative.
Stark does not whitewash the atrocities that were committed by some of the Crusaders. He frequently acknowledges that bad things were committed by some Crusaders. The corrective he offers is a vision of the Crusades as understood by contemporaries, against the vision offered by Enlightenment-Progressive scholarship which interprets the entire history as evidence of why white, European Medieval Christians and the history they made should be condemned.
This and works like it are greatly needed.
Provides an in-depth analysis for the case of the Crusades. Something that has been lacking for many years in academia quite a compelling case unless the thought of having your wives and daughters in Berkus is appealing
It was not so much about the crusades and the battles fought it was about the case for the crusades...