The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land Paperback – 19 Aug 2010
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`Powerful, assured and epic . . . departs radically - and successfully - from tradition . . . brilliantly exposes Muslim strategies and motivations' --James McConnachie, Sunday Times
`A compelling narrative that resonates inescapably with contemporary events . . . A masterful conclusion' --Malise Ruthven, Observer
'Asbridge can't help but tell a ripping yarn, often breezily dramatic, whipping the narrative along' --The Times
'Exciting, stirring, moving, horrific and a whole lot of other things as well . . . this book gives us narrative history at its best' --Scotsman
`A dramatic and powerful look at both sides of the story . . . Our choice of the best recent books' --Sunday Times
'Compelling . . . Asbridge's narrative builds into a haunting and thought-provoking story [that] sheds light upon the present as well as the past' --Helen Castor, Guardian
'Stuffed with splendidly colourful anecdotes' --Sunday Times
'A glorious, appalling journey into a past age and a vicious metaphor for present woes' --The Times
'Asbridge has drawn on his extensive knowledge of the subject to write a wide-ranging history of the wars'
--BBC History Magazine
About the Author
Thomas Asbridge is Reader in Medieval History at Queen Mary University of London, and an internationally renowned expert on the history of the Crusades. His acclaimed The First Crusade is also available from Simon & Schuster.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Crusades began as a kind of idealistic call to arms. When you look at it, the entire enterprise looks insanely impossible: a bunch of aristocrats, knights and their support infantries decide to travel to nearly the end of the world, to dislodge the far more numerous Muslims from Christian holy sites (Jerusalem, etc.) Against all odds, the first Crusade essentially lives up to its ideals, conquering a huge swath of territories and establishing independent kingdoms and Duchies in the mid east (largely in the territories of modern Syria and Israel). It is simply amazing that, virtually without supply support and lacking coherent leadership, they charged into battle with little plans and won. Many said it was God's will.
In a way it was colonial, but the author is at pains to prove that it was their ideals that drove them. He demonstrates the changes in theology required, including "just war" by Christians, but also promises of salvation from sin to varying degrees and under more or less clarified obligations. The twists of logic and the hypocrisy of land-hungry princes, I was convinced, were outweighed by their religious purpose. After all, what they wanted to do was far too ambitious, though to be fair they lacked clear and practical knowledge about the areas they were attacking; besides, God and the talisman of the "true cross" supported them.Read more ›
I don't propose saying anything more about the excellence of this book - the other 29 reviewers (so far) have said it all - absolutely excellent book about the Crusades!
What I would like to draw out is the fact that this book falls very neatly (and nicely!) between such relatively short introductory texts such as 'The Cross and the Crescent' by Malcolm Billings(*), and 'The Crusades' by Anthony Bridge(*) and more academic studies such as 'A History of the Crusades' by Steven Runcieman. It's a perfect general, but detailed introduction to the Crusades with a nice balance between academic rigour and entertaining anecdote. Wonderful!
(*) Both of these books are excellent in their own right.
An excellent introduction. My only fear is that I may now struggle to find other books on the subject which match up.
Asbridge literally not only takes you on the crusades he then turns the tables and shows you the Islamic face of it all. You do see the two sides of the fight.
No spoilers here in this review, but certainly it opens up so many questions. Was it the desperation of an 11th Century Pope that really opened up the wound that today we face, that shows itself in so much terrorism and hate?
Just the fact that Jerusalem was a sacred place to Muslims as well as Christians was something new to me. The contrast of the slaughter carried out by the First Crusaders that was not repeated by the jihad leader, Saladin, many years later speaks volumes.
There is enough background into the politics, geography, battles and, yes, some gory details to make this an actually entertaining as well as educating and informative read.
I was entirely mistaken. Asbridge wrote with such drama that it was hard to put the book down. I took it everywhere, and when i was determined to finish a chapter, and put the book down, I often found myself halfway through the new chapter and instead of doing my work. A superb book.
The best part was the character of the participants: pious Godrey, greedy Baldwin, sickly King Baldwin IV, awe-inspiring Saladin, courageous Richard the Lionheart, and decitiful Fredrick II. Great men, a great story, and a great storyteller. What more could be asked of a book? Asbridge deserves 5 stars all the way.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Whilst this is a well written book, linguistically speaking, it is highly opinionated and would have been better called 'Thomas Asbridge's version of The Crusades'. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very enjoyable and well written. Definitely as good as The greatest knight. His other book about William Marshall.Published 3 months ago by Michael Abba
For over a thousand years inter-religious strife has been focused on the city of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Plucked Highbrow
Bought a copy as a present, ended up buying another to give away. Very good writing.Published 4 months ago by Joan R.
Still reading the book but I can award it four stars so far, a really informative read.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
never was interested in the Crusades when I was at school pity our teachers didn't have this book.The thing that surprised me is Lionheart didn't join until they,d been at it for a... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kindle Customer
This is a very insightful and extremely well written analysis of the Crusades.
Very easy to read and well explained.