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Posted November 22, 2009
A brief insight should be exactly that: concise and to the point. Tyerman manages to disengage my interest almost before I finish the dedication. In a book aimed, presumably, at those with little more than a passing interest in the subject, the object should be to draw the reader in with vivid imagery, swift-moving descriptions of key events, and personalizing the characters. Instead the style is fussy, the text repetitive, and the author's obvious knowledge wasted by the manner in which he conveys the message. For me The Crusades are a period of history that has been romanticized and I want to find a different perspective. What could have been an adsorbing topic is mired by my need to reread many of the passages in order to make sure I understood them and could put them in context. Overall it was too much work to enjoy.
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Posted March 5, 2012
The series in which this book is published is called "A Brief Insight", but Tyerman is neither brief, nor does he provide an insight. Tyerman no doubt knows the subject, but suffers from an obvious inability to convey it to the reader in an intelligible, let alone captivating manner. Nearly every sentence is loaded with an abundance of factual information that fails to connect. A single paragraph causes the reader to race from one side of Europe to the other, and maps frequently appear out of context. Often, less is better, and Tyerman does not opt for the "less". If this book is representative of his style of lecturing, I can only pity his students. here is clearly a master of the subject who lacks the ability to raise interest or create a focus with which the reader can identify. Another major shortfall is the absence of source material to which his occasional quotes can be referenced.
Overall, a stressful read that allows only one conclusion: thankfully, no more crusades.