School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 5-9-These offerings cover elements of life and culture in the Middle East during the Middle Ages in enough depth to support report writers. Ford starts with the Crusaders' conquest of Jerusalem in 1099, then provides considerable background on life in the city for Muslims, Jews, and Christians, including numerous interesting details derived from primary sources. Hancock summarizes the Crusaders' defeat of Jerusalem and life in the city under their rule; he then describes the rise of Saladin and his recapture and subsequent defense of the kingdom. Hilliam presents a chapter on weapons but concentrates much more on the military campaigns that spread Islam across a vast empire. The writing in all three books is clear and concise but not particularly lively. Well-chosen, full-color reproductions of medieval paintings appear throughout. Several illustrations are used in more than one title, including the only map. All three books include the same list of the Web sites of scholarly societies, none of which offers much useful information on the topics. John Child's The Crusades (Peter Bedrick, 1996) provides an excellent overview of the period as a whole. Diane Stanley's Saladin: Noble Prince of Islam (HarperCollins, 2002) and Katherine M. Doherty and Craig A. Doherty's King Richard the Lionhearted and the Crusades in World History (Enslow, 2002) use language much more effectively. Still, these newer titles will prove useful for researchers.-Jonathan Betz-Zall, City University Library, Everett, WA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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