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The Age of the Crusades: Near East from the Eleventh Century to 1517 (A History of the Near East) Paperback – 17 Feb 1986

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 01 edition (17 Feb. 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0582493021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0582493025
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 694,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

'A lucid and valuable work of synthesis, and one which augurs well for the series of which it is the harbinger.'

History

About the Author

P.M. Holt was formerly Professor of the History of the Near and Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His previous publications include "The Age of the Crusades "and "the Memoirs of a Syrian Prince." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
In The Age of the Crusades, P.M. Holt attempts the difficult task of describing and explaining the period 1100 – 1517 in only 250 pages. The result is a breathless yet entertaining book which guides the reader through a fascinating land during a fascinating time. From the Red Sea to the Black Sea, Cairo to Constantinople, Holt’s aim is to show his reader is that the crusades, although important, play only a part in the political intrigue and military conflicts which were common in the Muslim World. One of Holt’s main conclusions is the ‘progressive unification and ultimate consolidation under the administration of a single Muslim government”. In an age when many people dream of such a government and many people greatly fear one this book shows the factors that led to unification in the past and the roles played by the Christian states and other Muslim nations.
The book opens with a short chapter explaining names and titles as well as the Islamic culture. Although this can appear daunting at first glance it greatly improves ones appreciation of the period. Similarly, Holt’s use of both dates (Islamic and Christian) enables the reader to get a sense of the Muslim perspective, a distinct figure of this book. In the introduction Holt attempts to paint a quick sketch of the near East and the ethnic groups within before the first crusade. He is at pains to point out that the near east was not one, gigantic Muslim Empire but rather “an area of considerable geographical diversity”. It is also points out that contrary to Pope Urban’s famous declaration, “Actual persecution (of Christians) was rare and sporadic”.
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Format: Paperback
The title might suggest a narrowly-focussed history of the Crusades and Crusader states from a Western European viewpoint: this is not that book. Professor Holt's justification for the title is that the Crusades were a great catalyst for the unification of what had earlier been fragmented Muslim states in the Middle East under a few strong states, whose rulers gained prestige through fighting Holy Wars. The book ends in 1517, when the Ottoman Turks completed the unification of the area by conquering Egypt.

Holt's book is a blend of narrative and analysis and is largely written from the perspective of the indigenous people, largely Muslim but also Christian or Jewish, of an area far beyond that directly settled by the Crusader states or directly affected by warfare with them. About a quarter of the chapters deal with the governance of this area, and survey the institutions of government at the start of the period and at times within it. Although the other chapters are largely chronological, they also contain insights into the reasons for the events. The main focus is on Syria and Egypt, although two chapters deal with Nubia and Muslim Anatolia. The writing style is erudite but highly readable and a great deal of detailed factual information is packed into just over 200 pages, besides a useful bibliographic survey. Its main emphasis is political, so although the chapters on the institutions of government may not be as instantly interesting as some of the narrative ones, knowing the nuts-and-bolts of government is essential to understanding it. There is also a reasonable amount on social and, to a lesser extent, economic, issues but little on culture. This is understandable within the constraints of a book this size.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very well written history. The way Holt stitches together the main themes for the period really helped me to understand my course and yet I also found it an engaging read. Suitable for students and those who are curious.
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