The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land

The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land

by Thomas Asbridge
4.3 37

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Crusades 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
MWSchwartz More than 1 year ago
Thomas Asbridge presents a well-written historical of this increasingly relevant and controversial era that will not only more than sufficiently educate you on the subject but keep you interested. With a carefully abridged reproduction including most of the major events of what eventually came to be called the Crusades, Asbridge tells the horrible and spectacular tale of the Latin West's attempts to retake the Holy Land between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. Incorporating an even blend of back history, politics and diplomacy, military tactics and strategies, public sentiment and religious sway, from both the Christian and Muslim camps, supported by eyewitness accounts including those of William of Tyre and Ibn Al Athir, I found the story to be intriguing, page-turning and satisfying to both the tactician and historian. The author does not make the mistake of assuming foreknowledge on the part of the reader, sparing some unwanted drawn and objectionable discussion reserved for elite contemporaries, replete with opinion and debate regarding the subject, and this results in a mostly disinterested and fairly well-balanced tutorial for the average to advanced learner from an instructive standpoint. Self-educators and history fans will not find this tome a bore but enlightening. Included in the historical you'll learn about the fervent piety - the fanatical belief that one carried out the will of God - and the profound events thus conceived: the powerful and often corrupt, manipulative papal influence upon pan-European society and its capability to generate such vast pilgrimages with the promise of redemption as reward; the long march to the Holy Land by the First Crusaders, their unspeakable suffering of thirst and famine and plague and subsequent amazing success and slaughter at Antioch and sudden entrapment where they found the Holy Lance and miraculously drove away Kerbogha's massive army against all odds; their unbelievable capture of Jerusalem and the crowning of Baldwin I; the creation of the Hospitallers, the Templar Knights, and the Teutonic Order in the Crusader States of Outremer, and the Assassins; the upsurge of Islam and the call to jihad to cleanse the land of Christian invaders; the Field of Blood, the early tide-turning victory of Islam; the disastrous 2nd Crusade under Louis VII and Conrad III; the advent of Zangi and Nur al Din, and Baldwin IV, the Leper King, and the rise of Yusuf ibn Ayyub - Saladin - who unites the badly fragmented Islam under one banner, leading the Muslims to victory at the Battle of Hattin and retakes Jerusalem in 1187; the arrival of Richard the Lionheart and Philip of France at Acre, Richard's famous march to Jaffa and his defeat of Saladin at Arsuf, and his twice failed attempt to retake Jerusalem; the treasonous Fourth Crusade and its corrupt manipulation under Innocent III whereupon fellow Christians were slaughtered at Constantinople and the Head of John the Baptist and the Crown of Thorns were taken; the attempts by the Fifth Crusaders to take Egypt, where Al Kamil flooded the Nile to wash away the Christians; and the rise of Baybars the Ruthless and his vicious horde of mamluk soldiers which drove away the undefeated Mongols and triumphed at the siege of Antioch 1268, where he locked the city's gates to commit a horrible slaughter within; and Qalawun's final siege of Acre in 1291 after which the last of the Christians fled the Levant forever. The Crusades: read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Asbridge has done an exceptional job of chronicling a period full of legend and often of misunderstanding. He analyzes the complexities of both the times and the protagnonists and in the process, brings us a clearer understnding of this tempestuous time. In his eyes, it was neither a religious war or jihad exclusively, nor was it a territorial war exclusively, and not merely a means of acquiring power and glory for he participants. It was all of these things, and more than all of these things. Asbridge puts it in the context of its time, clarifying issues and personalities along the way, and turning his narrative into a story line that is fascinating and spellbinding. It doesn't read like history but more like an historical novel, a narrative. There are some Britishisms in his style, of course, but his writing is clear, concise and yet highly detailed. Of special interest is the last section in which he relates the modern era to the Crusades, complete with modern misperceptions and assumptions. A scholarly, but fascinating read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was gland to find a book with an author who does not let his beliefs get too m,uch in the way of his potrayl of history. He will use terms like "If the church was justified or not, this was the result" Their are two types of books you can get on the crusades. A short book that gives a quick summary of the political happenings that led to battles then accounts of the battles themselves. Then there is the book like this. A long story that is told where every political twist and turn that brought on the conflictas. I give this book five stars because its real smooth in reading. When i say this i mean it does not focus to much on topics that are unimportant just to take up page space. There are instances where it will give in depth ccounts as to conditions in the camps of the crusaders during the winter, how they would loose many men and how they wouuld become inflicted with disease.The facts this is filled with are interesting, they go along in the same timing as the story being told of the crusades. if something occurs that needs explaining the author is not so lazy as to not remind you of critical knowledge that must be remembered in order to understand the present circumstance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very through review of all Crusades (1-6). Seems balanced in criticisms of both sides. I'm not sure this book goes back far enough to give a perspective of the "nature of the beasts" as they say which existed on both sides. You really have to start at the destruction of Jeruselum in order to have a complete perspective of how all things came about. A lot of the problems came from the fragmentation of the Roman empire and the various factions that were trying to take parts of it away from Rome, which included Romans, Turks, a nd Barbarians. The Christians in Byzantium were trying to hold Constantanople from falling to all of these factions with very little help. Even the Pope helped one Roman who was trying to concur as much of the area around Syria up to the Bosphorus as he could against the Emperor of Byzantium. All is never as it seems.
Nag_Reader More than 1 year ago
The fact that the author is serious about this topic and knows what he is talking about is apparent. You will see it when reading & will see that what he is saying makes sense. Also, it is great that he wrote it from the perspective of both the Latin Christians and the Muslims in the Near and Middle East. This is a great read for a history lover and one who wants a grasp on the Crusades. The author has my vote for excellence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Author does a masterful job of balancing the story of both sides of the Crusades, while maintaining and enjoyable reading experience. Very informative overview of a dark and confusing time. Highly recommend this to anyone who wants a history of the Crusades without any kind of sermonizing about the evils or sanctity of one side over the other but wants the facts of what happened.
Bookhound74 More than 1 year ago
This is an absolute must read for history buffs. A well written book and lends detailed insight into a period of history which I never really knew. Definitely recommend reading this book.
WriteReason More than 1 year ago
A very interesting chronological account of the Crusades, with concluding reference on how they affect current world events.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A well-written history
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Everything you wanted to know about the Crusades in the Near East.
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