1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book is three Osprey titles put together. Two are by Osprey's favourite Arabist, David Nicolle. They comprise of the complete text of Osprey Campaign 19 - 'Hattin 1187; and of Warrior 10' - 'Saracen Faris 1050-1250ad'. The third on the Templars is by Nicholson - Warrior 91 'Knight Templar 1120-1312ad'. As such it presents great value for money. Just be warned if you already own one or more of these titles.
What may seem to be a patchwork quilt actually fits together very well. There is one other warning though. Dr Nicolle is notoriously unbalanced in his treatment of anyone who dared to stand against a Muslim foe. I find this more refreshing than grating, but many do not. If you just want a reference book for wargaming, or an assistance to day dreaming, you wil probably not mind. The photos and illustrations are particularly well chosen. The text is well written. The pro Muslim bias is less intrusive, than say, a 'modern' Scottish academic banging on about the evil English.
What do I mean? Crusaders invade. Muslims 'recapture'. Their campaigns to initially wrest the land from Byzantines etc are forgotten. Crusaders desecrate, Muslims 'rededicate'. Apparently it is particularly evil to turn a mosque into a church, but only right to turn a church into a mosque. Crusaders massacre, Muslims submit to necessity.
A typically baseless statement can be found on page 56. The Muslim forces are estimated by Dr Nicolle as being 700 purely it seems because a Frankish chronicler estimated them at 7,000! I cannot be bothered to list similar assumptions. Just take any page not written by Helen Nicholson! Dr Nicholson is factual, academic and perhaps slightly dry. She is clearly aware of the 'nutty' aspect of her subject and is determined to avoid it.
Both authors are a bit afraid of the 'romance' of their topic. A pity. Good for modellers, wargamers and general interest. If you want pace ready Runciman. If you want the 'other point of view' read The Crusades through Arab Eyes.'