The Crusades is an authoritative, accessible single-volume history of the brutal struggle for the Holy Land in the Middle Ages. Thomas Asbridge - a renowned historian who writes with "maximum vividness" (Joan Acocella, The New Yorker) - covers the years 1095 to 1291 in this big, ambitious, listenable account of one of the most fascinating periods in history. From Richard the Lionheart to the mighty Saladin, from the emperors of Byzantium to the Knights Templar, Asbridge's book is a magnificent epic of holy war between the Christian and Islamic worlds, full of adventure, intrigue, and sweeping grandeur.
©2010 Thomas Asbridged (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
There are a few topics that get short shrift in Asbridge's account, like the Albigensien Crusade and the People's Crusade. But if you want a comprehensive history of the wars fought in the Middle East, he's your guy. Asbridge writes with great narrative pace without sacrificing detail; he clarifies both the complex political history of Outremer and the moment-by-moment action of the great battles and sieges. The story is filled with great personalities - Saladin, Richard Lionheart, the sad Louis King of France, the brutal Baybars. A final chapter reflects on how the crusades have been used as reference points in later history. Derek Perkins' reading is brisk and interesting.
"Your criticism sounds as if you have read too many critical books and are too smart in an artificial, destructive, very limited way."
I found this book fascinating. As bridge really makes quite the attempt to be as objective as possible, given the limited amount of time and detail inherent in a comprehensive overview. I found his recounting of the Third Crusade particularly engrossing. Well worth a listen.
This book taught me more than just about any other historical piece I have read. It manages to masterfully put the Crusades in a format that shows the personalities on both sides that created the political conditions that fueled the hundred years of violence between two competing religions, philosophies and political systems for dominance of Palestine and its religious sites, holy to both sides.
I loved listening to this book a learned a ton I didn't know about the Crusades. I found the narrator to be engaging and easy to understand. It provided views on events from Christian and Islamic sides and doesn't seem to hold either in a higher esteem and viewed them fairly.
A very indepth history of the Crusades. The length and breadth of the title did make it difficult the finish, but well worth a listen.
A difficult task to manage over many decades but the book mastered the complex subject with relative ease. Helped create meaningful connections to other historical events such as the Mongol invasion of Europe and the middle east.
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