Release Date: 19/08/10
In the eleventh century, a vast Christian army, summoned to holy war by the pope, rampaged through the Muslim world of the eastern Mediterranean, seizing possession of Jerusalem, a city revered by both faiths. Over the two hundred years that followed this First Crusade, Islam and the West fought for dominion of the Holy Land, clashing in a succession of chillingly brutal wars, both firm in the belief that they were at God's work. For the first time, this book tells the story of this epic struggle from the perspective of both Christians and Muslims, reconstructing the experiences and attitudes of those on either side of the conflict. Mixing pulsing narrative and piercing insight, it exposes the full horror, passion and barbaric grandeur of the crusading era. One of the world's foremost authorities on the subject, Thomas Asbridge offers a vivid and penetrating history of the crusades, setting a new standard for modern scholarship. Drawing upon painstaking original research and an intimate knowledge of the Near East, he uncovers what drove Muslims and Christians alike to embrace the ideals of jihad and crusade, revealing how these holy wars reshaped the medieval world and why they continue to echo in human memory to this day.
History, as they say is written by the victors and with recent event’s being compared to the Crusades the modern man can perhaps learn from what has gone before in order to prevent repeated the errors of the past.
That said, events have to be looked at in mind of the time, place as well as the setting and to get an objective view, accounts need to be available from both sides of the conflict. This is what Thomas Asbridge has done within this title. Beautifully written, this look at the many crusades, their leaders and outcomes is meticulously researched, especially when the author does his best to tread the middle ground, almost as if he were reporting from the front line of a modern war.
It’s detail is staggering, the writing authoritive and to my mind perhaps the most comprehensive account of the crusades to date. For lovers of history this title is going to be a must have title especially when backed with the research to become a prize of capture itself.