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Fighting for Christendom: Holy War and the Crusades [Hardcover]

Christopher Tyerman

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Book Description

9 Sep 2004
Crusading fervour gripped Europe for over 200 years, creating one of the most extraordinary, vivid periods in world history. Whether the Crusades are regarded as the most romantic of Christian expeditions, or the last of the barbarian invasions, they have fascinated generations ever since, and their legacy of ideas and imagery has resonated through the centuries, inspiring Hollywood movies and great works of literature. Even today, to invoke the Crusades is to stir deep cultural myths, assumptions and prejudices. Yet despite their powerful hold on our imaginations, our knowledge of them remains obscured and distorted by time. Were the Crusaders motivated by spiritual rewards, or by greed for the power and booty to be captured in the east? Was the papacy imposing uniformity from within, or defending itself from the infidel enemy without? Were the Crusades an experiment in European colonialism, or a manifestation of religious love? How were they organized and founded? Christopher Tyerman picks his way through the many debates to present a clear and lively discussion of the Crusades; bringing together issues of colonialism, cultural exchange, economic exploitation, and the relationship between past and present.

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"An excellent outline of current historical thinking" -- Sunday Times

"The author has provided us with a thought-provoking perceptive and relevant analysis." -- The English Historical Review

...an excellent outline of current historical thinking. -- Sunday Times, November 21, 2004

Tyreman, one of the foremost historians of the Crusades currently writing an excellent brief introduction. -- TLS, January 28, 2005

About the Author

Christopher Tyerman is Lecturer in Medieval History at Hertford College and New College, Oxford. A fellow of the Royal Historical Society, he has published extensively on crusading History, including The Invention of the Crusades and England and the Crusades.

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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Introduction to the Crusades 4 April 2005
By C. Hutton - Published on Amazon.com
Christopher Tyerman has composed a brief account of the history of the Crusades with an eye toward contemporary current events. For the reader who has little knowledge of the background of the Crusades, Mr. Tyerman gives a big picture overview of Christian Europe's many military operations (1095-1464 AD) to retake Jerusalem from the Muslim Arabs (who had conquered the Holy Land by 640 AD).

The writing is a readable synthesis of the diverse research he has undertaken for this book. Mr. Tyerman ties together our Crusader past with its impact upon our present day world and debunks popular myths in his concluding chapter.

For the reader who desires to read further upon the topic, I recommend Sir Steven Runciman's three volume (and 1,400 pages) magisterial epic upon the Crusades. Though published between 1951-1954, "A History of the Crusades" is a masterwork of popular writing. Jonathan Phillip's "The Fourth Crusade and the Sack Of Constantinople" is a more detail account of a crusade gone berserk.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Overview 29 April 2005
By Charlus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For those who know little or nothing about the historical realities of the Crusades, this brief book lays out the territory in an economical and authoritative way. The author's iconoclastic approach is refreshing and he veers neither to the left nor the right in his efforts to set the record straight. The opening chapters are the most helpful in giving a fairly strict chronologic narrative while the latter chapters expand on certain themes previously touched on. Unfortunately much of the writing is rather dry and occasionally bogs down into lists of names and dates. The author peppers his text with ironic comments that could have enlivened it if used more liberally. The last chapter, that brings the political uses of the legacy of the Crusades up to the present, is actually the best in the book. As mentioned in my title, a good overview.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cliff Notes to the Crusades? 13 May 2005
By David MacDougall - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This was my first book on the crusades and I chose it based on a favorable New York Times review. I give it a lukewarm recommendation because it is so brief that it will not help the novice understand the visceral reaction Muslims have against even a mention of the crusades. You will also not learn enough about key characters, including Saladin.

This well-written book is shorter even than the book description suggests. With numerous images and generous spacing this book is really a dash through the key events and theories. While it gives a good overview of the crusades I think that someone new to this extraordinary period in history needs more.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best read 27 Dec 2008
By David - Published on Amazon.com
A book does not have to be 500 pages to be great and to truly cover the topic. Even through this book is half the pages it has far too many misses to be worth reading. The author's wording is very difficult to understand what exactly he is trying to convey. I found myself re-reading passages a number of times trying to understand what exactly he means. The Author is British and sometimes the wording does not translate well to American English. Maybe its the fact that my vocabulary skills are lacking as well.
Also, the author could of spend a few extra pages discussing some of the historic figures and battles in more depth. The author seems to make a lot of interesting point but never really expands on them nor does he bring them up again during the book. Another problem of this book is the sure lack of organization. However the biggest problem I had was trying to understand the many "wordy" sentences throughout this short book and trying to put the proper meanings into prospective.
I would pass on this and move on.
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