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This review is from: Holy War: The Crusades and Their Impact on Today's World (Paperback)
In HOLY WAR Karen Armstrong presents a sweeping history of religious conflicts in the Middle East from the time of Pope Urban II in the eleventh century to the current age. The central theme of the book can be summarized as follows: The Crusades in the Holy Land during the Middle Ages have a direct influence on the troubles in the Middle East today. Holy Wars are a response to trauma. A close look at the First Crusade in 1096 shows that the Jihad had fallen into disuse until it was revived to counter the invasion by European Christians. America and Israel share a strong feeling of identification partly due to the fact that they were both settled by European refugees. America and Israel are now allied in a new Holy War against Muslims.
Karen Armstrong is not a professional historian. Her primary field is actually English Literature and she is also an ex-nun with several years in a Roman Catholic convent in her background. My only criticism of her book is that it may be too ambitious in terms of its scope. There is simply too much material to cover in just one volume. The author, however, almost pulls off the impossible because of her formidable skills as both a writer and storyteller.