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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Epic History, 29 Mar 2006
This review is from: Holy War: The Crusades and Their Impact on Today's World (Paperback)
Karen Armstrong has written a brilliant narrative of the Crusades, in a unique and engrossing fashion.
This large book, deals with every single Crusade that took place (1 - 13), and shows how they effected today's world in the Bush era. The Byzantium empire, the forming of Israel, and the Mongol campaign that ran parallel are all covered, jumping back and forth in time, but in and understandable and logical fashion. Unbiased accounts are given of the acts and events of the age, and no religion is made to look sinister, it's just a case of chronicled events, which does make the Crusaders look a little naughty. I read this book before watching the Kingdom of Heaven film, expecting it to be totally historically wrong, but apart from the ludicrous movie version of the defence of Jerusalem, it was quite close.
Karen Armstrong was a nun, not a military General. So don't expect detailed battled accounts, or stories of Templar knight's crossbows firing volleys in the Muslims. A summary of any relevant event is given, and for this it works quite well. The death of the last Grand Master, or the siege and treachery that allowed the capture of Jerusalem are all covered. If you were going to read one book on the Crusades, this is the one. If you find some thing you like in here, Knights of the Hospital, the Popes war with Europe's kings or prophecies of Armageddon and the anti-Christ then read up on that in detail later.
Perhaps out of all the books I have ever read, this book has taught me more useful facts, and enlightened me more than any other. The Crusades a very famous era, but the full truth is twice as amazing.
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