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God's War: A New History of the Crusades by [Tyerman, Christopher]
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God's War: A New History of the Crusades Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Length: 1040 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Review

`A fine piece of fact-packed, closely argued work on that "clash of civilizations", echoes of which continue to roll across the planet' -- Sunday Herald

`A superb book ... majestic ... an entertaining as well as reliable' -- Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of Reformation

`An intelligible yet elegant, readable yet scholarly narrative ... vivid, convincing, concise' Felipe Fernández-Armesto, The Times -- Felipe Fernández-Armesto, The Times

`God's War is a first-rate, scholarly, up-to-date, and highly readable survey of the entire crusading movement ... sane, informed, and gripping' -- New York Review of Books

`Magisterial ... catches the feverish, visionary spirituality of the age' -- The Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Christopher Tyerman is a Fellow in History at Hertfod College, Oxford, and a Lecturer in Medieval History at New College, Oxford. He is the author of England and the Crusades.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5700 KB
  • Print Length: 1040 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (4 Oct. 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI95F4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #314,328 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Read the other reviews and you will see people either find this essential or annoyingly flawed. They are both right. No book has attempted to encompass not only the Eastern Crusades but also the crusading efforts in Northern Europe, Spain and looking at the later crusades too. Never has so much info covering so many cultures been crammed into 1 volume.

But, and it is a big but, there is an old literary saying "if you have a complex tale to tell then tell it simply" and this is where the book falls down. The language is dry and uses words such as fissiparous which means not only do you have to keep a plethora of characters, dates and events in your mind but you have to keep reaching for the dictionary too. It is also curiously unemotional when it comes to key/epic moments of the Crusades. I think Tyreman has confused being unbiased (which is appropriate given the topic)with being bland.

Also while the research is exhaustive and exhausting I do think the balance is a little odd, do we really need an exact itinerary of the preaching of the Second Crusade, Third Crusade and so on on to skim over things like what were the weapons and tactics of East versus West (this is hardly ever mentioned and never in any depth). Don't get me wrong the preaching is vital to the story but what made the crusades the crusades was the fighting and this does not get the same scrutiny as the liturgies going on in the Rhineland.

Saying that even an expert on the Crusades will find something new here, it's a very big mountain to climb (it took me months to get through and nobody can absorb it all after reading it just once) but the views from the top are spectacular.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
Comment 49 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
With "God's War" Christopher Tyerman delivered a detailed, general history of 500 years of Christian, religious warfare, referred to as the crusades. The result is best compared to such different milestones as Sir Steven Runciman's epic "A History of the Crusades" or Riley-Smith's far more concise "Crusades: A History". In my opinion, Tyerman's work falls in between these two books. Far more scholarly than Runciman, it might be lacking the thrill of great battles and flawed, but fascinating characters that bind the reader of the more traditional work. Instead, it provides a deeper insight into the events, the politics and economics of Outremer and Latin Europe. It's greatest accomplishment, from the view of an amateur historian, however, is the detailed discussion of cause and effect, and the multitude of different interpretations offered. Where Runciman is correctly criticized for his strong pro-Byzantine, pro-Muslim bias so common in many of the post-imperialist historians, Tyerman avoids the pitfall of becoming an apologist for the Latins. Instead, he presents all views and leaves it to the reader to make up his own mind. However, in all fairness, he does neglect to provide the same level of detail about the Muslim side (which Runciman did), focusing more on the different Christian factions involved.
Compared to Riley-Smith's far more concise work, he offers little new in terms of broad fact, but a lot in terms of interpretation and detail. Overall, this makes Tyerman's work appear a bit long-winded and lumbering, often making you wonder why the book had to be three times as long. But as in the comparison to Runciman, it is choices of interpretation offered that add in value and make Tyerman's book the most balanced of the three.
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Format: Hardcover
Suddenly Runciman's 50 year old grand narrative of the crusades is surpassed. Tyerman does not write quite as sweetly, but he has a strong narrative drive, and an eye for character, and he is alive to the complexity of the cataclysmic encounter between East and West. There are no simplistic goodies and baddies, and the crusaders in particular are shown acting with rapacity and cruelty as well as courage and piety. The results good and bad live with us to this day. Tyerman helps to show up the misinterpetations which feed much discord between the once-Christian West and Islam.
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Format: Hardcover
When Christian fervour met Islamic resistance, the centuries of crusading and warfare that followed were to shape the modern world like nothing before or since, and an indelible mark was left on the consciences of both religions. Told with passion and academic flair, Tyerman's definitive and engrossing chronicle of the Crusades reads like a centuries-old epic of war, arrogance and the clash of cultures. Its place should be assured on the bookshelves of all politicians.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It may be many decades since Sir Steven Runciman wrote his history of the crusades but his works still hold the double crown of interest and scholarliness. Christopher Tyerman's work is large, a physically heavy tome, and undoubtedly scholarly. It is however, written in a peculiarly academic style which makes much use of obscure words and written styles. Bookish, academic to a fault and clearly the product of the author's extensive understanding of the period. However, Christopher Tyerman fails to convey to me the fervour, passion and sheer excitement of this monumental period of East-West history. Sadly, I have put this book back on my shelf only one-third read.
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