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The Last Crusaders: East, West and the Battle for the Centre of the World Paperback – 4 Nov 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (4 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349115370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349115375
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 107,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Praise for "The Last Crusaders" ?This thoroughly readable book provides a vibrant and well-organized account of this tumultuous, lesser-known period of history. Highly recommended for both students and general readers.? --"Library Journal" (Starred Review) ?Barnaby Rogerson paints a vivid canvas, sweeping in scope and full of memorable detail... The author is especially good at narrating in gripping, and often grisly, detail the great sieges and battles that punctuated this struggle. The book is furnished with excellent maps, a useful chronological chart, numerous illustrations, and a very full bibliography. The writing is engaging and vivid, never pedantic. Any history buff will find this book a pleasure.? --"ForeWord Review"

Book Description

* Timely history of the battle for the Mediterranean in the 15th and 16th centuries by the forces of Islam and Christendom, out now in paperback

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Henk Beentje TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback
The book: not the usual Crusade history on battles for the Holy Land; this deals with the last great shifts of power in the Old World - the Ottoman conquest of the last bits of Byzantium, the Castilian/Aragonese conquest of Granada, the battles of the central Med such as Malta, Tunis, Lepanto; the 150-year wars of Portugal in Morocco; the personality clashes, like Charles V/Francis I; intrigue, battles, explorations, trading, treachery, religious strife (both Catholic/Protestant and Shia/Sunni)
The book is divided into three main periods:
1. 1450-1499, Birth of new powers (Portugal, Ottoman Turkey, Spain, North African corsairs, Moroccan rulers)
2. 1499-1560, Struggle (emergence of Portugal as trading empire, the Portugal/Morocco wars, the internal Moroccan strife, Burgundy/Spain vs France, Suleiman the Magnificent, the North African corsairs)
3. 1560-1590, Destruction (battle of Djerba, sieges of Malta & Nicosia & Famagusta, Lepanto, the last Portuguese invasions of Morocco)

My opinion: an excellent overview, combined with a fine eye for detail and a very readable style. New for me was the view from the Muslim side as well as from the Christian sides, and showing the disunity in both. There is focus on the main players/personalities, but in such a way that they are firmly rooted (and explained) in and by their environment. Did you know the borders of current-day Algeria are still those as set up by the Barbarossa brothers in the 1520s? I certainly did not, and I learned much else besides -and in the most enjoyable way, through an engaging and very well-written book. Highly recommended!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sorenson on 8 Jan 2011
Format: Paperback
One of the best books I have read. It provides information on many different nations in the medieval times. The book explains about many religious conflicts involving christians and muslims. Whether it is about the portuguese conflict in North Africa with the invasion of Ceuta and Tangiers. Stretching through the castilian and aragonese unification, growth of the ottoman empire into Europe and further into Asia and more. This book is orientated towards information about muslim nations more than christian. But that makes it an even better book. With the writers fascination with the constant political maneuverings of different muslim kingdoms such as Granada. I would sincerely implore people to buy this book. It is fantastic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Baerends on 15 Sep 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very good book about the endless wars around the Mediteranean, from 1415 to 1578. These start and end dates correspond to the Portuguese taking of Ceuta in 1415 (the start of their 'crusade' into, or perhaps rather around Africa) to the epic 1578 'battle of the three Kings' - effectively the end of the Portuguese attempt to conquer Morocco, and arguably the end of the Portugese golden era as they lost some 20,000 people including their king and most of the country's nobility.

Not that the writer limits himself to just Portugal - we learn about the rise of the Ottoman Empire, the fall of Constantinople, Ferdinand & Isabella, the Barbary corsairs, Andrea Doria, the siege of Malta, Lepanto, Francis I and Charles V, you name it. Despite the catchy title, a lot of the conflicts were between christians and between muslims rather than part of any crusade.

Where appropriate, excursions outside the Mediterranean are included, the most interesting of which (I thought) was the Portuguese involvement in christian-muslim conflict in Ethiopia. Despite the vast scope of his subject, somehow Mr. Rogerson has succeeded in squeezing over 150 years of history into a book that is not prohibitive in size - a testament to his narrative skills. I would recommend anyone remotely interested in the history of the period to buy this book, and make sure to not (as I did) read it in just a few sittings but rather take it chapter by chapter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Martyn J. Fogg on 24 Nov 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A most excellent and entertaining narrative history that filled many of my knowledge gaps concerning the 16th century. It takes a little time to get going but then develops an unstoppable momentum. The final chapter, concerning The Battle of the Three kings, is incredibly gripping. It gets to you. Any author who can finish a great book in such an epic way gets five stars from me.
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