The Age of the Crusades: Near East from the Eleventh Century to 1517 (A History of the Near East) Paperback – 17 Feb 1986
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'A lucid and valuable work of synthesis, and one which augurs well for the series of which it is the harbinger.'
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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”.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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