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Downfall of the Crusader Kingdom: The Battle of Hattin and the Loss of Jerusalem Paperback – 13 Apr 2010

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More About the Author

I have always had an interest in history but have sometimes been disappointed at the dryness with which books on it can be written. History needs to come alive to make it real and not appear to be some distant and remote subject of little relevance to our world. That is why I try my best to bring out the drama in the subjects that I write about whilst at the same time trying to ensure that the books I am involved with are based entirely on fact.

I started writing about twelve years ago and have been constantly amazed at the things I didn't know about the subjects I research to write about. My main interest is in medieval history which is why my early books were mainly on the Crusades. However I am always interested in new discoveries so I do find myself looking at new areas all the time - for example I am currently writing a book on the Dambusters.

I hope that those that read my books will at least share some of my enthusiasm for the subjects that I write about and will also understand something of the importance of history to the world that we live in today.

I am very lucky in that I have a job that takes me around the world into lots of places that I wouldn't otherwise visit. This is what for example inspired me to write about the Mongols - I worked in Mongolia for a while and fell in love with the place. Most of my work is in slightly offbeat places which is great for introducing me to places of great beauty and histories of great interest that I wouldn't otherwise know about.

I look forward to writing for many years and am always happy to hear from anyone who has read my books with any positive or negative comments - I am always trying to get better at what I do. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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About the Author

W.B.Bartlett is a well-respected historian and the author of Legends of Blood, Assassins and The Last Crusade (The History Press).

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A great discussion of an important , largely ignored period 27 Jun 2013
By D. D. LeDu - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent, compelling book on the period leading up to the Battle of Hattin and and the subsequent fall of Jerusalem to Saladin.

This is a balanced presesntation, which shows respect to both the Christians and the Moslems. Most books on the crusades seem to be written with an agenda: to show Moslems and/or Christians as either brutal or heroic one-dimensional characters, to praise or condemn religious faith, or to draw parallels with a current event. The author avoids these tendencies and presents a story of real people facing real problems while dealing with other real people.

I had this book set aside, to be read when I had nothing else available. Once, however, I picked it up, I could not lay it down. It is that well done.
Balanced, Comprehensive and Well-Written 29 July 2014
By Helena P. Schrader - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bartlett’s "Downfall of the Crusader Kingdom: The Battle of Hattin and the Loss of Jerusalem" is a first rate account of the events leading up to the fall of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. Bartlett has clearly based his account on the sources, Christian and Muslim, and he has a firm and balanced grasp of the history, yet he writes in a fluid and comprehensible prose.

One great strength of this book is its comprehensive approach. Bartlett explains the critical importance of Byzantium’s waning strength upon the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He reminds the reader of developments in Western Europe that impacted crusading enthusiasm and so the resources of the kingdom. He touches on economic factors of importance, and provides succinct and useful descriptions of the comparative arms, armor and tactics of the antagonists. He is careful to stress the ethnic and religious diversity of both the Christian kingdom and Saladin’s vast empire, for neither the Christian Kingdom nor Saladin’s empire were monolithic but rather fractured by many internal divisions.

Bartlett is particularly adept — unlike far too many academics — at putting himself into the shoes of his subjects and examining possible explanations of known behavior and their motives. In consequence, Bartlett avoids making demons and saints out of any of the actors. Saladin’s military achievements and famed chivalry are duly noted and praised — but so are his mistakes, ruthlessness and occasional acts of barbarism. Guy de Lusignan is rightly castigated for his indecisiveness and weakness, but Bartlett also highlights his difficult situation. The very complex character of Raymond de Tripoli is carefully analyzed and both his apologists and detractors sited, enabling a balanced analysis of his actions. Balian d’Ibelin’s significant role as a voice of reason, a mediator and an effective defender of Jerusalem is likewise highlighted. Only in the case of Reynald de Chatillion and Gerard de Rideford does Bartlett’s objectivity break-down somewhat.

One small weakness with the book is that Bartlett appears unfamiliar with Bernard Hamilton’s well-argued thesis about the strategic utility of Chatillon’s acts of aggression. Likewise, Bartlett seems to have confused the period at which Isabella was forcibly separated from her mother (from the age of 8 to 11), and so blithely glosses over this brutal act of power politics on the part of Agnes de Courtney as a mere “mother-daughter spat.” He also did not benefit from more recent studies on leprosy in the Middle Ages and so inaccurately suggests that leprosy was seen as a punishment for sin when, in fact and particularly in the Latin East, it was more often seen as a sign of God’s grace. Yet these are very minor flaws in an otherwise excellent historical account written for the public rather than the academic community.

While Malcolm Barber’s "The Crusader States" is the more valuable reference book to the student of Christian Jerusalem, Bartlett is far and above the better read. For anyone who is not — and does not want to be — a specialist in the subject, Bartlett’s book provides a rapid, comprehensive and on the whole accurate introduction to the main issues and personalities of this fascinating period. Highly recommended.
Five Stars 12 Sep 2014
By TBL - Published on
Format: Paperback
Very good book that covers a lot of what people don't really know about that period of time and those that lived in it. It does throw away a lot of the myth that the movies provide about that era, and what a lot of people don't know or realise about why and how those events really transpired.
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