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From an internationally renowned expert, here is an accessible and utterly fascinating one-volume history of the Crusades, thrillingly told through the experiences of its many players—knights and sultans, kings and poets, Christians and Muslims. Jonathan Phillips traces the origins, expansion, decline, and conclusion of the Crusades and comments on their contemporary echoe From an internationally renowned expert, here is an accessible and utterly fascinating one-volume history of the Crusades, thrillingly told through the experiences of its many players—knights and sultans, kings and poets, Christians and Muslims. Jonathan Phillips traces the origins, expansion, decline, and conclusion of the Crusades and comments on their contemporary echoes—from the mysteries of the Templars to the grim reality of al-Qaeda. Holy Warriors puts the past in a new perspective and brilliantly sheds light on the origins of today’s wars. Starting with Pope Urban II’s emotive, groundbreaking speech in November 1095, in which he called for the recovery of Jerusalem from Islam by the First Crusade, Phillips traces the centuries-long conflict between two of the world’s great faiths. Using songs, sermons, narratives, and letters of the period, he reveals how the success of the First Crusade inspired generations of kings to campaign for their own vainglory and set down a marker for the knights of Europe, men who increasingly blurred the boundaries between chivalry and crusading. In the Muslim world, early attempts to call a jihad fell upon deaf ears until the charisma of the Sultan Saladin brought the struggle to a climax. Yet the story that emerges has other dimensions—as never before, Phillips incorporates the holy wars within the story of medieval Christendom and Islam and shines new light on many truces, alliances, and diplomatic efforts that have been forgotten over the centuries. Holy Warriors also discusses how the term “crusade” survived into the modern era and how its redefinition through romantic literature and the drive for colonial empires during the nineteenth century gave it an energy and a resonance that persisted down to the alliance between Franco and the Church during the Spanish Civil War and right up to George W. Bush’s pious “war on terror.” Elegantly written, compulsively readable, and full of stunning new portraits of unforgettable real-life figures—from Richard the Lionhearted to Melisende, the formidable crusader queen of Jerusalem—Holy Warriors is a must-read for anyone interested in medieval Europe, as well as for those seeking to understand the history of religious conflict.


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From an internationally renowned expert, here is an accessible and utterly fascinating one-volume history of the Crusades, thrillingly told through the experiences of its many players—knights and sultans, kings and poets, Christians and Muslims. Jonathan Phillips traces the origins, expansion, decline, and conclusion of the Crusades and comments on their contemporary echoe From an internationally renowned expert, here is an accessible and utterly fascinating one-volume history of the Crusades, thrillingly told through the experiences of its many players—knights and sultans, kings and poets, Christians and Muslims. Jonathan Phillips traces the origins, expansion, decline, and conclusion of the Crusades and comments on their contemporary echoes—from the mysteries of the Templars to the grim reality of al-Qaeda. Holy Warriors puts the past in a new perspective and brilliantly sheds light on the origins of today’s wars. Starting with Pope Urban II’s emotive, groundbreaking speech in November 1095, in which he called for the recovery of Jerusalem from Islam by the First Crusade, Phillips traces the centuries-long conflict between two of the world’s great faiths. Using songs, sermons, narratives, and letters of the period, he reveals how the success of the First Crusade inspired generations of kings to campaign for their own vainglory and set down a marker for the knights of Europe, men who increasingly blurred the boundaries between chivalry and crusading. In the Muslim world, early attempts to call a jihad fell upon deaf ears until the charisma of the Sultan Saladin brought the struggle to a climax. Yet the story that emerges has other dimensions—as never before, Phillips incorporates the holy wars within the story of medieval Christendom and Islam and shines new light on many truces, alliances, and diplomatic efforts that have been forgotten over the centuries. Holy Warriors also discusses how the term “crusade” survived into the modern era and how its redefinition through romantic literature and the drive for colonial empires during the nineteenth century gave it an energy and a resonance that persisted down to the alliance between Franco and the Church during the Spanish Civil War and right up to George W. Bush’s pious “war on terror.” Elegantly written, compulsively readable, and full of stunning new portraits of unforgettable real-life figures—from Richard the Lionhearted to Melisende, the formidable crusader queen of Jerusalem—Holy Warriors is a must-read for anyone interested in medieval Europe, as well as for those seeking to understand the history of religious conflict.

30 review for Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Excellent, very readable birds-eye view of the Crusades. Phillips falls down a bit when he tries to pull it all together and talk about the use of the word "crusade" in times since the actual Crusades...he's trying for a kinda lofty conclusion, and he doesn't quite make it. But the main point is to give a general sense of what happened, and there he succeeds admirably. I'm not trying to become a big expert on the Crusades or anything; I just want the broad strokes. I think of it like this: I'd li Excellent, very readable birds-eye view of the Crusades. Phillips falls down a bit when he tries to pull it all together and talk about the use of the word "crusade" in times since the actual Crusades...he's trying for a kinda lofty conclusion, and he doesn't quite make it. But the main point is to give a general sense of what happened, and there he succeeds admirably. I'm not trying to become a big expert on the Crusades or anything; I just want the broad strokes. I think of it like this: I'd like to know enough about the Crusades to nail a a hypothetical Crusades category on Jeopardy. I've achieved that: what are Jerusalem, the Knights Templar, Richard the Lionheart, Constantinople, and Saladin. Gimme my money.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elia Princess of Starfall

    The Crusades are legendary; in the their own lifetime and in ours. Who can resist their sheer epic nature, unrivaled brutality and the classic struggle between Islam and Christianity, East and West, that perhaps holds a mirror up to our own modern world. The Crusades may have lasted less than 200 years (1099-1291) but their shadowy legacy lingers on in the world and continues to wield powerful cultural and historical influence over people today. From popular culture's Indiana Jones and the Last The Crusades are legendary; in the their own lifetime and in ours. Who can resist their sheer epic nature, unrivaled brutality and the classic struggle between Islam and Christianity, East and West, that perhaps holds a mirror up to our own modern world. The Crusades may have lasted less than 200 years (1099-1291) but their shadowy legacy lingers on in the world and continues to wield powerful cultural and historical influence over people today. From popular culture's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to the George W. Bush's embarrassing depiction of the War on Terror as a crusade (much to Osama Bin Laden's unbridled glee), the crusading ideal continues to resonate with our current society in a myriad of either harmless or dangerous ways. In Jonathon Philip's vivid and fast-paced retelling of these legendary conflicts for the fight for the Holy Land, Holy Warriors narrates the story of the Crusades between either epic, life-changing events such as the First Crusaders unbelievable capture of Jerusalem in 1099 or Sultan Baibars ruthless and unstoppable destruction of the Latin Outremer ( A strip of coastline from Antioch to Jaffa) in the 13th century or the remarkable of life stories of key players in the Crusades such as Melisende, Queen of Jerusalem, and Salah-al-Din (Saladin in western terms). There is a duality to Holy Warriors in that Phillipp's never exclusively devotes all his energy and purpose to one side of the conflict. Instead his balanced and measured approach is sustained throughout the book with Philip's looking at monumental events from both sides. This gives Holy Warriors clarity and fairness in depicting the Crusades; both Christian and Muslim committed atrocities in the Name of their God?religion and Phillip's never lets the reader forget it. This is a enthralling intro to the vicious world of the Crusades; Phillip's hold back no punches when he viscerally describes in gory detail the atrocities committed in blood-lust and revenge by BOTH sides in their struggle to dominate the Holy Land. The First Crusaders butcher, brutalize and pillage the innocent Muslim citizens of Jerusalem in 1099 and in 1291 the Muslim/Mamluk army under Al-Ashraf-Khalil overran the Christian city of Acre murdering its inhabitants without mercy and finally ending the Frankish presence of Christianity in the Holy Land. This is history at its finest; there's no taking of sides, no demonisations of either Christians and Muslims, the Crusades are looked at through the context of their OWN times, no stupid anachronisms are found and this is simply a bloody brilliant read about the Crusades! I cannot stress how enjoyable it was to read this book and there are many a history guilty of the cardinal sin of simply being boring. I mean how can the Crusades be boring? How can such a ruthless, blood-soaked and murderous era in history be transformed into something stuffy and sleep-inducing? That's some skill in itself in my opinion. Thankfully not only does Phillips write with zest and enthusiasm but his writing style is crisp and clear, to the point and never shies away from the horrors he has to write about. It is bold and compelling and greatly increases the enjoyment in reading Holy Warriors. Phillip's book covers the entirety of the Crusades in Holy Land (and beyond with focus on the Balkans, the pagan countries of Northern Europe and the bitter reconquista of Spain from the Moors) and takes a panoramic view over the who, what, where, when, why and how of the Crusades. This is expansive and far-reaching overview of the Crusades and is suitable for beginners or for those already knowledgeable and wish to know more. Holy warriors is highly accessible and free of the execrable jargon that often clog up otherwise well-meaning history books. This is the joint crowning of Queen Melisende of Jerusalem, daughter of King Baldwin II, and her husband King Fulk, formally Count of Anjou and Maine in France. Sultan Baybars, Lion of Egypt, the man who did more to liberate the Holy Land (with savage cruelty) from the Christian Franks. Without a doubt the highlight of Holy Warriors was learning more about the brilliant enigmatic figures of Queen Melisende of Jerusalem and Sultan Baybars of Egypt. These figures were clever, pragmatic and tenacious fighters in the fight for the Holy land and DESERVE to better known in the wider world. Queen Melisende ruled Jerusalem in her own right in a time where women were feeble, weak and unable to to be clever. How can a women who co-ruled Jerusalem with her husband with resounding success in a patriarchal world not have more of a claim to fame? Sultan Baybars was a Kurdish Turk who was sold as a slave aged 14 to the Mamluks military force and rose inexorably through the rungs of power in Egypt, slaughtering all those who stood in his way, until he became the Sultan of Egypt. Again, how the hell is this guy not better known? He was a slave who became Sultan; talk about a medeival Darth Vader...... All in all, this is a fantastic and original retelling about the Crusades and their complicated, mixed-up modern day legacy. Told with enthusiasm and keen sense of realism, holy warriors is the perfect intro to the Crusades and the world they helped to shape. Just be prepared for gore. A lot of gore.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jerome

    A broad, illuminating history of the Crusades. The narrative is straightforward and accessible, and Phillips does a great job describing all of the key players and their contribution in an engaging and human narrative (although Richard I and Saladin seem to overshadow the rest), and he broadens the narrative to include the Crusades in Spain, southern France, and northeastern Europe. The detail is enough to keep it interesting, and the character-driven narrative brings the story to life. Phillips a A broad, illuminating history of the Crusades. The narrative is straightforward and accessible, and Phillips does a great job describing all of the key players and their contribution in an engaging and human narrative (although Richard I and Saladin seem to overshadow the rest), and he broadens the narrative to include the Crusades in Spain, southern France, and northeastern Europe. The detail is enough to keep it interesting, and the character-driven narrative brings the story to life. Phillips argues that the Crusaders really did believe what they believed, no matter how savage they were willing to become. He disputes the idea that the Crusades was some sort of imperialist or colonialist project; leading or joining a crusade required great economic sacrifices, and most crusaders wanted to go back home as soon as they could, hence the manpower shortages. Just because their religious devotion seems strange in modern times does not mean it was just a cynical cover. The book is relatively short for such a big topic, and some issues aren’t covered as much as you might expect; there is little explanation offered on the rise and decline of the crusades’ popularity, and the Fifth Crusade gets only a few pages, for example. An insightful, readable work.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maitrey

    It's a great introduction to the messy history that is the Crusades. Covering the well known events such as those of the First Crusade to a simple biography of Saladin, this book also gives the real reasons behind such tragic events as the Sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade and the Children's Crusade (nobody was sold to slavery) to even obscure legends such as the alleged Christian Emperor of the East: Prester John (actually, Chengiz Khan) or how an excommunicated German Emperor wo It's a great introduction to the messy history that is the Crusades. Covering the well known events such as those of the First Crusade to a simple biography of Saladin, this book also gives the real reasons behind such tragic events as the Sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade and the Children's Crusade (nobody was sold to slavery) to even obscure legends such as the alleged Christian Emperor of the East: Prester John (actually, Chengiz Khan) or how an excommunicated German Emperor won back Jerusalem without a single battle being fought. The final closing chapters --dealing with how the terms Crusade and Jihad have come to mean a wide variety of things since they were both coined-- make for great reading. The only criticism I can find in the book is that it focuses heavily on battles and biographies (a chap's history if you will), rather than the social, economic or cultural changes in both Europe and the Middle East (except in the last few chapters). But the scope of this book is so large covering right from the Eleventh Century CE to the present, one can forgive Philips for his pandering to the modern audience.

  5. 4 out of 5

    NDV135

    A really great overview of the Crusades in the Near East, with less, but still some focus on Crusades elsewhere, and the intervening periods between the major expeditions. It offers a board and balanced perspective without taking a side on many contentious issues, and instead presents the arguments of both sides in many cases. It also manages to be a thoroughly enjoyable read, and lacks any significant dry sections, always examining various and fascinating events and figures from the Crusading Pe A really great overview of the Crusades in the Near East, with less, but still some focus on Crusades elsewhere, and the intervening periods between the major expeditions. It offers a board and balanced perspective without taking a side on many contentious issues, and instead presents the arguments of both sides in many cases. It also manages to be a thoroughly enjoyable read, and lacks any significant dry sections, always examining various and fascinating events and figures from the Crusading Period, from both the Muslim, Christian, and various other sides that were involved. Defiantly recommenced to anyone, even if you are not particularity interested in the Crusades, or even the Middle Ages, you will definitely still get something valuable out of this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Craig Evans

    For a history buff, for anyone really, this is a concise and accessible presentation of the European incursions into the near and middle East. From numbered to named, to incidental 'social' crusades, the history of West vs. East appears to be a jumble of antagonistic, missrepresented, bungled and faulty forays to the cradle of civilization. I know I don't know as much as I should about the period involved, and I intend to remedy that situation.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brianna Osborne

    A very fair account of the main events and characters of the crusades. In some cases I wish the author had made his details a little more clear, but I enjoyed getting to know people like Queen Melisende and the Muslim eyewitnesses of the First Crusade. The last chapter on modern "crusades" was interesting but could have been shorter.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Arman

    Read years ago, still have it on my shelves for reference. Great book for an introduction to the subject.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Byrd

    A lot of history that not a lot of people know about. Great read if you're into obscure military/religious figures. Kind of pedantic if you're looking for sweeping historical narratives.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Gave me good info for my paper.

  11. 4 out of 5

    jordan

    Trying to examine two centuries of war, on two continents, and across five theatres in a single volume requires audacity. And Jonathan Phillips’s //Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades// is certainly audacious in its scope, covering not only the several medieval efforts to reclaim and maintain a presence in the Holy Land, but for good measure throwing in the reconquering of Spain, the blood-drenched suppression of the Albigensians in southern France, and the so-called “Northern Crusad Trying to examine two centuries of war, on two continents, and across five theatres in a single volume requires audacity. And Jonathan Phillips’s //Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades// is certainly audacious in its scope, covering not only the several medieval efforts to reclaim and maintain a presence in the Holy Land, but for good measure throwing in the reconquering of Spain, the blood-drenched suppression of the Albigensians in southern France, and the so-called “Northern Crusades.” Needless to say, in just over 400 pages, it is a shallow consideration at best. Though exploring none of these conflicts in sufficient depth, Philips does succeed on other, more intellectual levels. Most importantly, he demonstrates that the contradiction moderns imagine between piousness and brutal violence is anachronistic. The Christian knights who massacred their way through Jerusalem until covered with “blood from head to foot” and fell to their knees weeping at the burial place of the Prince of Peace, saw no conflict between the two. Yet wishing to paint as many of the crusaders as possible with a broad and forgiving brush, he can go too far; few scholars would agree that Venice’s Dodge Dandolo, whose manipulations led to the sacking of Constantinople, was a mere victim of circumstances (and an argument further contradicted by this author's other work on the 4th Crusade). Even if shallow on each Crusade (the Cathars alone merit volumes, here receiving a scant 20 pages), Philips still delivers a gripping read, populated with fascinating characters, known (Saladin, Richard The Lionheart, Dandolo) and more obscure (Queen Melisende of Jerusalem, The Leper King Baldwin IV, Louis IX). In examining the Crusades through their Muslim opponents’ eyes, Philips offers a fascinating perspective. If lacking sufficient depth, it successfully demonstrates how the crusading spirit casts a long shadow into our present day, one which we ignore at our own peril.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    I've always been fascinating by the history of the Crusades - if only because the reverberations of what happened so many hundreds of years ago is still so terribly relevant to the world today. The impact of the Crusades on the East/West, Muslim/Christian divide is impossible to overstate: the metaphor of a 'crusade' is used today in everything from politics to entertainment; the Muslim concept of 'holy war', jihad is enshrined in the very core of the religion, and the arguments and political an I've always been fascinating by the history of the Crusades - if only because the reverberations of what happened so many hundreds of years ago is still so terribly relevant to the world today. The impact of the Crusades on the East/West, Muslim/Christian divide is impossible to overstate: the metaphor of a 'crusade' is used today in everything from politics to entertainment; the Muslim concept of 'holy war', jihad is enshrined in the very core of the religion, and the arguments and political and physical strife over Jerusalem continues to this very day. In this book Phillips charts the narrative history of the Crusades, from the first Crusade' successful recapture of 1099 to the final collapse of the Levant states in 1291, as well as the crusades declared against the Cathars in southern France and the pagan states in the Baltic, and the political and military wrangling over Constantinople. He also looks into the lingering legacy of the crusade as a concept, its place and use in today's society and the impact the word is, George Bush's use of the term after 9/11, for example. It's a very good book, and it manages to make clear what was often an incredibly tangled and complicated era, with competing monarchs, military orders, Outremer nobles, sultans and monks all adding to the complications. I would have possibly liked a little more about the role and history of the military orders such as the Knights Templars, Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights, as their involvement in many cases was far more than just military and they placed an enormous role in the development of Outremer. But as this after all a quite concise exploration about several hundred years of immensely convoluted history, that omission is understandable.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    I thought I was going to give this a quick look over, maybe read about Richard and Saladin, check into the Children's Crusade, but I got hooked early in the first chapter. What made this book interesting for me was the author's focus on one or two, or a few characters - be they popes, knights, kings, or emirs - per crusade and unfolding the narrative around their contributions. Of course they were all interesting characters - you don't write books about non-descritps. The history balanced the si I thought I was going to give this a quick look over, maybe read about Richard and Saladin, check into the Children's Crusade, but I got hooked early in the first chapter. What made this book interesting for me was the author's focus on one or two, or a few characters - be they popes, knights, kings, or emirs - per crusade and unfolding the narrative around their contributions. Of course they were all interesting characters - you don't write books about non-descritps. The history balanced the sides, and gave us heroes and villains, and really fascinating Europeans and "Saracens." The book starts to lag after Louis IX's crusade, holds on through the trial of the Templars, and the age of Ferdinand and Isabella, but then just falls apart, especially with lip service to Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush. So you could skip the penultimate and final chapters and still have a surprisingly rip-roaring read. I recommend it - not much has changed since November 1095 when Pope Urban II launched the first Crusade with "Deus Vult" - God Wills It.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Drew Martin

    Over the summer I reviewed Dr. Sebastian Gorka’s Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War. Dr. Gorka explained the conflicts and tensions in the 20th Century which brought about the many splinter Islamic terror groups we hear about today. Dr. Gorka’s history, while thorough in what it covered, only covered the modern era. I wished he would have mentioned more about the medieval period and The Crusades and said as much in my review. To understand the present, we must look into the past, and sometimes it Over the summer I reviewed Dr. Sebastian Gorka’s Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War. Dr. Gorka explained the conflicts and tensions in the 20th Century which brought about the many splinter Islamic terror groups we hear about today. Dr. Gorka’s history, while thorough in what it covered, only covered the modern era. I wished he would have mentioned more about the medieval period and The Crusades and said as much in my review. To understand the present, we must look into the past, and sometimes it’s a very long look into history. This is one such occasion, and I may have found a nice companion book to Dr. Gorka’s book to some extent. Guiding us into the past is Dr. Jonathan Phillips. He’s written several books dealing with The Crusades, and the subject of today’s review is 2012’s Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades... To read the rest of this review go to https://drewmartinwrites.wordpress.co...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Glenn

    I'm rounding up from 3 1/2 stars. I found the first 3/4 of the book fascinating. A great combination of events and stories kept me interested. He does a good job of explaining the significance of the crusades and their context of what was going on in Europe and elsewhere in Asia. I would probably have given in a solid 4 stars, but I thought the last two chapters were for the most part dribble. More than anything this made me want to go to London and take one of his courses on The Crusades.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jim Talbott

    An excellent short history of the Crusades. I skimmed the last few sections on modern implications, but how can you not love a book with passages like this about King Amalric of Jerusalem, "William described him as quite tall and good-looking with receding blond hair and a full beard, although he noted that the king was troubled by his weight and had breast 'like those of a woman hanging down to his waist.'" In addition to a highly digestible overview, I found the book's attention to political a An excellent short history of the Crusades. I skimmed the last few sections on modern implications, but how can you not love a book with passages like this about King Amalric of Jerusalem, "William described him as quite tall and good-looking with receding blond hair and a full beard, although he noted that the king was troubled by his weight and had breast 'like those of a woman hanging down to his waist.'" In addition to a highly digestible overview, I found the book's attention to political accommodation on both sides and among different factions within sides to be extremely interesting.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Haythem Bastawy

    Although Holy Warriors is 'aimed squarely' at the non-academic public, it is well-researched and sufficiently-detailed as a general history of the crusades could be. Jonathan Phillips' superb story-telling skills add further thrill to a topic, that can be quite complicated. One of the things that impressed me the most about the choice of references in the book, is that Phillips was highly selective of the translations he used, or at least of the ones I understood the titles of their originals. A G Although Holy Warriors is 'aimed squarely' at the non-academic public, it is well-researched and sufficiently-detailed as a general history of the crusades could be. Jonathan Phillips' superb story-telling skills add further thrill to a topic, that can be quite complicated. One of the things that impressed me the most about the choice of references in the book, is that Phillips was highly selective of the translations he used, or at least of the ones I understood the titles of their originals. A Great read!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gayla Bassham

    Pretty fascinating account of the Crusades. I hadn't read anything about the Crusades since I took Western Civ in high school, so this was mostly fresh information for me and I found it very interesting. The final chapter is eminently skippable, however--Phillips tries to tie contemporary figures such as Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden to the medieval Crusades, and it doesn't really work. (And the chapter also just feels like it is from an entirely different book.) Still well worth reading.

  19. 5 out of 5

    !Tæmbuŝu

    KOBOBOOKS Reviewed by Literary Review, The Guardian 3 Jan 2010 KOBOBOOKS Reviewed by Literary Review, The Guardian 3 Jan 2010

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    This was bruited as an intimate version of the crusades with more focus on the individuals involved, but to me it still read like a light history. Maybe it isn't possible to individualize iconic figures like Richard the Lionheart or Saladin, or perhaps there is too much distance. I didn't feel like this delivered and was really bored by the last chapter, which I felt was unnecessary.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Albert

    A good basic overview of the crusades. I liked his focus on individual personalities since it can be more engaging than the necessary abstractions over religion and territory. I happened to like his closing discussion of uses made of the term "crusades" and the idea of a crusade--most notably in Bush's appalling use of the word in his post 9/11 speech about terrorism.

  22. 4 out of 5

    David

    Great overview of the crusades with lots of primary source quotes both Christian and Muslim. The writing was at times quite dry and I think Mr. Phillips could have done a better job giving some extra descriptors to some of the words he commonly uses that are uncommon for someone who is rather ignorant of crusading history. Looking forward to Rodney Stark's take on the crusades.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    Honestly, I gave up. This is interesting, but not an easy read. You can't read it while working out on a stationary bike (or I couldn't) because it takes too much concentration. The maps are nearly useless, surprisingly so. His style is more popular than academic, and the source material he uses is clearly extensive, but it was just hard to read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lorenz

    This book is well-written and easily understood. I love the primary texts contained in the book as well as smooth story-telling of the history of the crusades. Even if I had read books and watched documentaries about the crusades, I still learned a lot of new things in this book. I definitely recommend this to everyone.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Corey Stubblefield

    An interesting book that helped to fill in a gap in my knowledge during a particular time period. The book gave a short account of roughly a hundred years in a narrative format that turned out to be very engaging. I also found that I liked how he took the history of the Crusades and tied them into the larger picture regarding our current interaction with Islamic countries.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Edward Moore

    Kind of dry but I was aware it is an academic tome. Rather dismissive of the role the Crusades played in the persecution and killing of Jews in Europe. The final chapter felt like the author was relieved to be at the end of the project and could not wait to finish. Interesting details for those interested in the Crusades, however.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Kukwa

    A rather readable look at the history of the Crusades, from the point of view of its chief warlords. That said, the coda about the modern-day legacy of the Crusades seems a bit of a stretch to me, and I would have preferred it ended in conjunction with the end of the medieval world that spawned this series of conflicts.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Yousef Shaaban

    simple reading through that simple age of fanaticism. His theme of highlighting some notable characters is very successful in giving a pure example's of humanity's peace,war,nobility, greed and faith in that age of simplicity away from today's complicated hypocrisy. Fredrick II "wonder of the world" impressed me with his secular,tolerant,faithful attitude.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Kniphfer

    A book highly recommended for the general reader and academic alike. Although Thomas Asbridge's book was better in my opinion, this was still and very informative book, and should be used as a source for all teaching of the Crusades

  30. 4 out of 5

    Scottsweep

    Overall a decent overview of the crusades, but not as in depth as my other read on the subject http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57... - it is a history book, but the last two chapters are more essay-ish and I would consider them throw-aways. Overall a decent overview of the crusades, but not as in depth as my other read on the subject http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57... - it is a history book, but the last two chapters are more essay-ish and I would consider them throw-aways.

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