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The Crusades, but Misappropriated and Opinionated to Suit the Author
on 25 April 2016
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'. If the Crusades are of interest to you, by all means, read it (along with a couple of other books - perhaps another somewhat colourful account of the Crusades like Amin Maalouf's Crusades through Arab Eyes, but read it with great caution. The author continuously tries to cast this as an objective account, but in truth he is, at all times, pushing his own agenda (which is to conclude why the Crusades took place and if they can cast any light on the Crusading / Colonial / Zionist trends of the West today). In the end, the author's answer is to say 'everyone else is wrong in interpreting the Crusades and I am right'. When reading the book, be weary of:
- Selective reporting that the author uses to justify his point of view
- Call everyone, from Frankish medieval Christian writers to Muslim writers of the time to modern historians, all misreporting the crusades to push their own agenda, as if the author himself is not guilty of that crime
- Extremely misleading language and opinionated statements represent is fact. Unnecessarily using phrases like '...this was a very poor decision on the part of so and so'. Completely ill founded when you don't know someone's motive, there is no need to judge.
- I don't understand why all Muslim Sultans were 'warlords' according to Thomas Albridge but all the Franks who led the Crusade were Lords and Dukes and Kings. He keeps saying other misuse language for political and historical gain and he is doing exactly that by repeatedly using labels where they are completely unwarranted.
- Finally, why is there a need to criticise other historians - that only goes to prove that this is not an objective piece of work, but aimed at the tabloid audience that reads stuff like the Metro all over London!
Instead of casting light on the events of the Crusades by reporting history, Thomas Asbridge as tried to re-cast the Crusades here. This is, of course, a trend in most modern writing and a result of a secular person writing on a subject that is, in large part, religious. That only results in a misappropriation of facts.