- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: BERKLEY - US; Berkley Trade Pbk. Ed edition (2 Aug. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0425215334
- ISBN-13: 978-0425215333
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 958,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
REAL HISTORY BEHIND THE TEMPLARS, THE Paperback – 2 Aug 2007
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About the Author
Sharan Newman is a longtime member of the Medieval Academy, has served on the advisory board for the Medieval Association of the Pacific, and is a Ph.D. candidate at UC Santa Barbara. Newman's medieval French mysteries have garnered Macavity, Agatha, and Anthony Award nominations, and she has won the Herodotus Award for Best Historical History.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I love her statements in the beginning about her footnotes. She allows that they're necessary if readers want to check up on her facts or pursue further lines of inquiry. But she also suggests that if you're just reading her work for pleasure and your own edification, you can just trust her and zip through. How refreshing! I do admit to reading quite a few of the notes (the ones in languages I know, that is), but only because they fleshed out some point or other.
I had read - and enjoyed - Holy Blood Holy Grail (by Baigent, Leigh, & Lincoln) years ago, but didn't get caught up in the Da Vinci Code, because it stuck me it was covering pretty much the same material. Sharan Newman's book soundly tromps on both of those books without being overly negative. I'm so glad I read this book, because it enriches my reading of other novels placed around this time, such as Bernard Cornwell's Grail Quest Series.
Sharan Newman has really dug into every aspect of the myths, legends, and the facts of the Templars. From her first sentence "How does a legend begin?" she dissects all the overblown stories of this much-maligned group.
Her last chapter points our her heroism in wading into this minefield of revisionist history. The title - "How to tell if you're reading pseudohistory" really explains what a mess this area of history has become. The Templars existed; there is no doubt about that. But they've been totally hijacked by those who want to claim that they are around to this day, even on the U.S. One Dollar Bill.
The most remarkable part of her book is something that 99% of Templar "history" books leave out - FOOTNOTES !! It's simply amazing how many books get sold these days without footnotes. (I think we need a footnote rating on Amazon - The Footnote Police ;)
I've owned Newman's book for about 6 months and its pages are more worn than many books I've owned for 10 years.
I highly recommend this terrific book. You'll treat it more like a reference.
Sharan has a straightforward and very entertaining narrative style, and while she is quite frank about the challenges of studying history, she also has a witty take on the times. For example, a favourite comment is that on the rules the Templars were to live by, and which were designed to distance women and all their temptations - "after a hard day of fighting Saracens, it might be difficult for a Knight of the Temple to remember that, while he could still pillage, rape was no longer an option". The footnotes are also entertaining, for example when discussing the gruesome delivery of a head to Baghdad, Sharan comments in a footnote "They were always sending heads to Baghdad or Cairo. Don't you wonder what they did with them all?" The book is littered with very 21st century takes on very different times.
It is very droll, hugely entertaining and informative for anyone interested in medieval history. Recommended!
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