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.
Everyone should have to read and understand what this book is about! Everyone should also think about how we want to go forward with religious leaders and their beliefs and what it all means for us as people!
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.
Somewhat shallow. Oddly praises Crusaders' religious motivation. But epilogue contains excellent analysis of modern misuse of these historical events.
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