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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Had me riveted
Whether you're a scholar, just got a passing interest or like a bit of 'boys own' this is a great boxed set. Having loved the fiction movie Kingdom of Heaven I wanted to know more about the Crusades. As the previous reviewer said - very informative and unpatronising. Unlike the other reviewer, I liked the spooky religous guy. Added a bit of theatre - and he's quite funny...
Published on 27 Dec. 2009 by JamesA

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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wasted Potential
In truth I would give this three and a half stars if I could; it's not worth four but three seems a little harsh. And why isn't it worth four (or more) stars? Firstly, it only covers the first three crusades, whereas the blurb here (and on the DVD cases themselves) gives the very definite impression of covering the entire period, until the fall of Acre in 1291. In fact...
Published on 26 Mar. 2011 by Exasperated...


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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Had me riveted, 27 Dec. 2009
This review is from: The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross (3-Disc) [DVD] (DVD)
Whether you're a scholar, just got a passing interest or like a bit of 'boys own' this is a great boxed set. Having loved the fiction movie Kingdom of Heaven I wanted to know more about the Crusades. As the previous reviewer said - very informative and unpatronising. Unlike the other reviewer, I liked the spooky religous guy. Added a bit of theatre - and he's quite funny in parts (unintentionally). It delivers all of the facts - but not in a crusty and dry old way. More kind of docu-drama. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent account in the form of an overview of the first three crusades., 20 Mar. 2015
This review is from: The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross (3-Disc) [DVD] (DVD)
The perfect companion for all history enthusiasts is: THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

This 3-DVD (or one Blueray disc) set from the History Channel looks at the first three Crusades, a period that saw the establishment of a series of short-lived Christian kingdoms in the Holy Land, the rise of Saladin, and the famous clash between him and Richard the Lion Heart.

The reconstructions are well handled. The main voice actors are used for the chroniclers, so speak the original (translated) words rather than any cheesy invented dialogue. The narrator speaks over most of the reconstructions, which have an effective stylized look to them, while the expert 'talking heads' are given clear time to themselves (including some sequences recorded in Turkey, Syria and around Jerusalem). Perhaps most impressively in a series that places medieval knights in a biblical setting there are hardly any Python moments (a lone hammer waved from below during the construction of a siege tower comes closest).

The experts are a well balanced group, with members from the United States, Europe and the Middle East, and as a result the programmes have a balanced feel themselves. A good range of topics are covered, including the poor relationship between the crusaders and the Byzantines, and the dangerous crossing of Anatolia. The atrocities committed by the crusaders after their arrival in the Holy Land also get good coverage.

The three DVDs cover the first three crusades and the periods between them, paying most attention to the first crusade. They are refreshingly free of the extended re-caps that blight many TV series and become especially noticeable after the ad breaks are removed. Here the programme makers have assumed that their viewers have a memory!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Crusades crescent and the cross (DVD), 3 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross (3-Disc) [DVD] (DVD)
An excellent DVD for all those senior students out there. Not many suitable books are available for this period of history for students at A-level, so this DVD is a very helpful addition.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wasted Potential, 26 Mar. 2011
This review is from: The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross (3-Disc) [DVD] (DVD)
In truth I would give this three and a half stars if I could; it's not worth four but three seems a little harsh. And why isn't it worth four (or more) stars? Firstly, it only covers the first three crusades, whereas the blurb here (and on the DVD cases themselves) gives the very definite impression of covering the entire period, until the fall of Acre in 1291. In fact everything after the third crusade, almost one hundred years of history, are dealt with in less than five minutes right at the end of disc three. Still, there are undoubtedly those who wouldn't be too worried about getting something that's not what is advsertised. Therefore we turn to a worse problem with this series - the narration.

The inclusion of a good number of famous crusade historians, from both sides of the religious divide, gives the series an authority sadly lacking in so many other documentaries. This should have been a winner then, but the narration entirely lets it down. Firstly, it's done by an American who insists on pronouncing everything incorrectly. Secondly, the content of the narration is often at odds with the crusade experts and, indeed, with itself. It also seems to have been written by someone following their own agenda rather than simply sticking with the history, which is very unhelpful. Unnecessary superlatives are the order of the day and many statements are made without context.

Having said all that, anyone watching this who has no or little knowledge of the crusades will definitely come away much better informed, if with the occassional odd idea. The inclusion of actual crusade experts as opposed to generic and overly enthusiastic American scholars does help to keep the documentary mostly on course, and provides names to look up for people who want to study this fascinating period further. Another winning aspect of the series is the inclusion of so much primary evidence, read out by actors decked out as the authors. They can definitely be annoying at times but I cannot think of a better way of getting so much contemporary writing in, without boring the general viewer. I must reiterate that this IS a documentary, in this case done in the familiar History Channel style of constantly showing the same dodgy re-enactment over and over.

So, if you feel you can cope with the dodgy narration and can get over the fact that this only covers the first three crusades despite advertising more, then you should definitely give it a go. If you cannot, avoid it and read a book instead. For example, both Thomas Ashbridge and Johnathan Phillips (who appear in this series) have written wonderful general histories of the crusades.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Okay as a starting point, 12 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross (3-Disc) [DVD] (DVD)
Very dumbed-down with some shocking acting (e.g. the incompetent who was William of Tyre), and one of the most arrogant, smug, unpleasant 'experts' on TV (Tariq Ali) but a decent account of the first three Crusades for anyone uninitiated. Is there any chance of history without dramatic reconstructions - just vetted experts (most on this series were good) and a simple looksie at the sites?
Also, putting the four part series on three discs is fraudulent - each episode was 45 minutes or so long, so one, maximum two, would have been enough. Selling it as a three-disc series implies you're getting much more.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Critique, 30 Nov. 2009
This review is from: The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross (3-Disc) [DVD] (DVD)
Very informative, scholastic and unpatronising. Input from a variety of university lecturers. Especially good and (balancing) input from Tariq Ali. It would have got a five had it not been from the slightly creepy religious input (maybe this was for the US market, or there was some level of funding provided by a christian sponsor).

One major negative, a perpetual dirge of Gregorian chant/church music throughout the DVD which was too loud, tedious and distracting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross review, 21 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross (3-Disc) [DVD] (DVD)
This 3-disc set contains the material shown previously on History Channel & other sources detailing the history of the Crusades. As documentaries on the subject go, it's one of the best, dramatizing the time as well as covering the entire Crusader period from the earliest (first) Crusade to the final battle. It is a deeply engrossing story which will reward repeated viewing.

Series like this make you want to type in 'The history channel dvds' into Amazon and start collecting...
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Well presented and dramatised, 23 Jan. 2011
This review is from: The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross (3-Disc) [DVD] (DVD)
I have seen parts of this documentary on History channel and decided to buy my own copy to enable me to enjoy and watch from the beginning to the end. It is very well dramatised and presented from variety of perspectives; muslim and christian chronicles. Music is excellent and supports the story line very well. Crusades 1 and 3 have necessary detail and extended coverage. Crusade 2 is presented in less depth and that was a pity. I would have loved to learn more about the French King and his inspiring wife Elena (who later divorced him). That was a bit of missed opportunity. However, the overall series is very well done and highly recommended to anyone who has some interest in history or teenagers who study it at school. They will learn a lot in very enjoyable manner.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Trip Into Muslim & English History, 18 July 2010
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This review is from: The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross (3-Disc) [DVD] (DVD)
This 3 Disc set of an Historic Journey into the past and into the world of Christians and Muslims left me blown away.
What an educational Journey this was.
With the acting intertwined with the documentary side of things it gave a different dimension and made it more realistic and believable.
Well worth getting and adding it into your library.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Super!, 11 April 2013
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This review is from: The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross (3-Disc) [DVD] (DVD)
Quite simply the most accessible drama documentary of the Crusades enjoyable for all age groups - 8-70! As a history teacher, I have done copious research to find something accessible for younger people.
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