In the eleventh century, a vast Christian army, summoned to holy war by the pope, rampaged through the Muslim world of the eastern Mediterranean, seizing possession of Jerusalem, a city revered by both faiths. Over the two hundred years that followed this First Crusade, Islam and the West fought for dominion of the Holy Land, clashing in a succession of chillingly brutal wars, both firm in the belief that they were at God's work. For the first time, this book tells the story of this epic struggle from the perspective of both Christians and Muslims, reconstructing the experiences and attitudes of those on either side of the conflict. Mixing pulsing narrative and piercing insight, it exposes the full horror, passion and barbaric grandeur of the crusading era. One of the world's foremost authorities on the subject, Thomas Asbridge offers a vivid and penetrating history of the crusades, setting a new standard for modern scholarship. Drawing upon painstaking original research and an intimate knowledge of the Near East, he uncovers what drove Muslims and Christians alike to embrace the ideals of jihad and crusade, revealing how these holy wars reshaped the medieval world and why they continue to echo in human memory to this day.
Thomas Asbridge is Reader in Medieval History at Queen Mary, University of London, and the author of 'The First Crusade: A New History' and 'The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land'. He studied for a BA in Ancient and Medieval History at Cardiff University, and then gained his PhD in Medieval History at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Thomas has written and presented a landmark three-part documentary series The Crusades for BBC Two, filmed on location across the Near East and Europe. He also developed and presented the documentary 'The Crusader's Lost Fort' for BBC2's Timewatch strand and has appeared in many other internationally broadcast television documentaries and radio programmes. He has worked as a historical consultant for HBO and Company Pictures.