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The First Crusade: A New History by [Asbridge, Thomas]
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The First Crusade: A New History Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Length: 432 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Review

"This lively account of the Crusade looks set to replace Steven Runciman's classic 1951 account of the expedition as the best introduction to the subject.... Asbridge's book gives exactly the sort of fast-flowing narrative the story demands. He writes clearly and vigorously, with a fine eye for telling detail. Having walked considerable parts of the itinerary the Crusade followed, he presents a vivid picture of the landscapes they passed through. He admires the crusaders' hardiness and extraordinary boldness without condoning cruelties they inflicted.... Recommended to a general reader who wants an introduction to the Crusades."--Hugh Kennedy, The New York Times Book Review"Asbridge combines fast-paced history writing, evocative prose and lucid research for a first-rate history of the First Crusade.... Brilliantly re-creates the three-year history of the First Crusade, chronicling its difficulties and victories, not downplaying its brutality but emphasizing its genuinely religious impulse."--Publishers Weekly"Balances persuasive analysis with a flair for conveying with dramtic power the crusaders' plight throughout the nine-month siege of Antioch.... Stunning...should revitalize the study of this fascinating period in European history."--Christopher Silvester, The Financial Times"Rousing.... Asbridge knows this territory well. In 1999, he even walked 350 miles of the crusaders' route."--Christian Science Monitor"Asbridge, in keeping with his aim to produce a popular history, writes with maximum vividness."--Joan Acocella, The New Yorker"Asbridge has produced a taut, clear and exciting narrative, which also manages to convey the best of modern Crusader scholarship....His pace is tremendous, and he has a remarkable feel of place. It certainly helps that, like so many Crusaders nine centuries ago, Asbridge has himself walked 350 miles from Antioch towards Jerusalem."--The Guardian"Although well researched, the book wears its scholarship lightly and reads like a work of fiction, complete with vivid characters."--The Herald (Glasgow)"Asbridge achieves vivid characterization and gripping storytelling without sacrifice of scholarship. Interweaving analysis, narrative, evocative description and occasional wry humor, he tells us--as no other book on the subject really does--who the crusaders were, how they behaved, how they killed and died and, most surprisingly of all, how they survived and triumphed."--Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, author of Millennium and Civilizations"There is an underlying assumption among commentators looking at the confrontation between Islam and the West that it has been engendered by the events of September 11, 2001. Thomas Asbridge, by tracing the roots to the First Crusade in his lucid and provocative 'new history, ' helps us to understand the present by explaining the past."--Akbar S. Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies American University"

About the Author

Thomas Asbridge is Lecturer in Early Medieval History at Queen Mary, University of London. An acknowledged expert on the history of the Crusades, he has traveled extensively in the Near East following the route of the First Crusade.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3132 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; New edition edition (26 Jan. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0071EZNC8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #131,257 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 7 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read a lot of books on the various Crusades, and their aspects, including Steven Runciman's magisterial volumes, and works by Jonathan Riley-Smith, Hans Eberhard Mayer, Jonathan Phillips and many others. I'd have to say that I think that all writing on aspects of the Crusades is inclined to be fairly subjective, based on the views and theories that the writer wishes to highlight in their writing. So, any one book on the Crusades, or on any one Crusade, is not likely to be `definitive' for every reader. Rather, it is the reader's right to read as many books on a Crusade as they can find, based on all aspects (Islam, Christian, societal, economic, political, religious) and weigh up the evidence for themselves, much as the authors of those books have done.

This book has clearly polarised opinion, as books on the Crusades often do. I approached it from the perspective that it would offer a lively narrative on the First Crusade, with some interpretation of the events. Not all of these would I agree with, nor should I expect to. Thomas Asbridge is Senior Lecturer in Early Medieval History at Queen Mary, University of London, and has specialised in the Crusades and their associated territories, including a book on the creation of the Principality of Antioch. This gives him an authoritative ability to offer his own views on the source material and interpretations of the First Crusade, and this book offers that synthesis.

I'm extremely impressed with the way that the author has `cut to the chase' on some very complex matters, some of which would fill books all on their own, such as what constitutes a just war, what Pope Urban's intentions were, what Alexius Comnenus was intending to achieve, what motivated crusaders (military and non-military) and many more issues.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A readable account of the First Crusade. Other reviewers have explained the synopsis and contents of the book. I will add that I found this to be a readable, easy-to-understand account of the First Crusade. The horrors of Medieval war are made clear, as well as the motivation of the crusaders and why they succeeded, often against impossible odds. Some of the problems were of their own self-doing. I found the beginning of the book particularly useful, such as explaining the concept of a 'Just War', the right of conquest and just how real hell and sin were to the medieval mind. The maps are clear and concise and the photographs are in colour and add to the experience of reading the book. Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
There are dozens of books on the First Crusade. There are dozens more of various aspects of it, in particular in “the Idea of Crusading” and on who were “the First Crusaders”, just to mention two titles from Jonathan Riley-Smith, or on the military aspects of it (see “Victory in the East” by John France). There are also quite a few biographies on various prominent characters that took part in it (for instance biographies of Raymond Count of Toulouse, Bohemond of Tarento, Robert “Courtheuse”, pope Urbain II, to mention just these). I should probably also mention R. J. Lilie (Byzantium and the Crusader States), Jonathan Philips, Steven Runciman and Peter Frankopan on the Byzantine connection and could go on, and on listing pages and pages of titles…

…And then, there is this one, which is an excellent overview and introduction to the subject, regardless of whether you happen to agree with the author’s conclusions or not, because it brings most of the elements and titles mentioned above together. It also presents a clear, well-laid out and comprehensive narrative of what happened, and why. This book’s subtitle - ”A New History” - might sound a bit overblown, if only because so much of its contents is NOT new but is made up of bits and pieces drawn and summarised from most of the authors mentioned above (and a number of others, as well).

However, this book is not simply a compilation and a skilful and easy to read summary about the First Crusade and the current historical consensus among (western) historians. It also includes elements drawn from the author’s own works and in particular from his own (excellent) thesis on the creation of the Principality of Antioch.
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Format: Hardcover
Avarice. Prejudice. Betrayal. Murder. The spirit of the First Crusade often appears as an antidote to modern Christian values. The author correctly identifies how the historical antagonism between Islamic and Western Worlds owes much to the remarkable band of opportunists who crossed into Byzantium nine hundred years ago. Certainly, you would not have wanted to be an Emir in their path.
It is clear that the author has a passionate appreciation of this remarkable story, resulting in a book that now sits on my shelves alongside Meyer's classic crusade history. The book is well illustrated with relevant pictures and photographs. Those showing Antioch today are particularly worthwhile.
I had forgotten how many bizarre and colourful individuals contributed to this remarkable and savage endeavour. The various sub-plots and motives are carefully presented against a political and religious context that is presented with great clarity. The subsequent combination of fanaticism and hypocrisy results in a compelling narrative, rich in both battle and sometimes comedy. Who could not fail to be amused by the likes of Peter Bartholemew?
I highly recommend this excellent book, which is a superb addition to what is currently available in this area.
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