- Paperback: 293 pages
- Publisher: Schocken Books; 1st American Ed edition (1 April 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805208984
- ISBN-13: 978-0805208986
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.6 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,459,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Crusades through Arab Eyes (Saqi Essentials) Paperback – 1 Apr 1989
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""The Crusades Through Arab Eyes "may be warmly recommended to lay-readers and students alike."
"The Times Literary Supplement"(London)"
"The Crusades Through Arab Eyes may be warmly recommended to lay-readers and students alike."
The Times Literary Supplement(London)"
From the Inside Flap
The author has combed the works of contemporary Arab chronicles of the Crusades, eyewitnesses and often participants. He retells their story and offers insights into the historical forces that shape Arab and Islamic consciousness today.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Until I read this title, my two favourite works concerning the crusades were 'The first crusade' by Thomas Asbridge and 'The sword and the scimitar' by Ernle Bradford. This book joins that short list.
One of the many bonuses to this title was that it filled a lot of the gaps in the aftermath of July 1099, such as the attempts by the Fatimids to reconquer Jerusalem, how the crusaders conquered Tripoli, Acre, the impact of the Mongols and the Mamluks on Arab civilisation. You come across interesting characters including Saladin, Zangi, Nur-Al-Din, Baybars, Qutuz, to name a few.
If I have any criticism, it is that some bits of information should not be taken at face value. For instance, the author asserts that Richard the Lionheart had Conrad of Montferrat killed by the Assassins - this is speculation at best.
I really enjoyed reading this and have certainly developed a more informed view of the crusades.
The occasional reviewer who says that it is one-sided is a bit unfair. It is a history of the Crusades from one point of view, as Maalouf says, and as the title makes clear. In writing the book, he says in the introduction, he has deliberately relied almost exclusively on contemporary Arabic sources. Even so, his account is fairly even-handed in that respect. Sometimes he does write as if he is cheering and jeering at the appropriate places in the story, but all even-handed historians, such as Runciman, make it clear that the Crusaders were on the whole a pretty barbaric bunch. Also although Maalouf describes Crusader-Muslim alliances as "bizarre", he makes it clear that as the Crusader kingdoms become stable, they played a role that often cut across religious lines, and few leaders on either side were consistent allies to their co-religionists, nor consistent enemies to those of another faith.
Also, at the end, after detailing the huge amount that the Europeans learnt in science, technology, art, culture, medicine and so on from the Muslim world, he then considers a few things that the Muslim world even at the time could have learnt from the otherwise less advanced west, if they had wished to.
However, the strength of the book doesn't come from its even-handedness. A good history book can be as biased as the writer wants it to be in tone, so long as it is factually accurate. Maalouf's account substantially agrees with (for example) Runciman's history, but fills it out by explaining the debates, the conflicts and the plans that the Muslims had in response to the invasion.Read more ›
This book gives an open and believably fair account of the Crusades. While it does not go into much detail as to where the Crusaders came from, it very clearly shows the various alliances that were created between various arab groups, as well as their own internal squabbling and betrayals.
This is a very balance book, and the author writes with a clear narrative style making it all the more accessible.
I recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in where the West's relationship with the Arab world has come from.
The book explains the twists and turns of politics with the Muslim states, allowing someone to who has read the Christian focussed histories to build the complete story. The work is written in an engaging and easy style, complete with juicy quotes from the Arab sources.
A selected translated collection of these sources would be a welcome companion to this book but as yet there does not seem to be one in print. Likewise this work stresses again the need for an account of the crusades from the viewpoint of Syrian Christians (Orthodox, Jacobite, Maronite etc.).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this is a very well written book that shows the intelligence of the writer. it's very important to read is as the westerners know only their side of the story.Published 7 months ago by ginno
Really good read. Great perspective to see how this period mapped out through the eyes of the islamic inhabitants from squabbling petty rulers to the religious groups and the... Read morePublished on 2 May 2015 by Ross
Maalouf is a better novelist than historian. Does what it says on the tin, but it's a rather leaden read for such a fantastic writer.Published on 14 April 2015 by Dewi
This is the feast of PC that you might fear. Instead it's a fascinating look at the political conditions in the Muslim world that made the Crusades possible and how these changed... Read morePublished on 16 Jan. 2015 by Amazon Customer
I've read this book before, it was published in my native language (Lithuanian) and then I decided to get one in English. Read morePublished on 1 Aug. 2014 by Vytenis Petrauskas