The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land
By Thomas Asbridge
(Ecco, Hardcover, 9780060787288, 784pp.)
Publication Date: March 2010
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
From a renowned historian who writes with "maximum vividness" (The New Yorker) comes the most authoritative, readable single-volume history of the brutal struggle for the Holy Land.
Nine hundred years ago, 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, Islam and Christianityboth firm in the belief that they were at God's workfought for dominion of the Holy Land, clashing in a succession of chillingly brutal wars: the Crusades.
For the first time, this book tells the story of that epic struggle from the perspective of both Christians and Muslims. A vivid and fast-paced narrative history, it exposes the full horror, passion, and barbaric grandeur of the Crusading era, leading us into a world of legendary championssuch as Richard the Lionheart and Saladinshadowy Assassins, poet-warriors, and pious visionaries; across the desert sands of Egypt to the verdant forests of Lebanon; and through the ancient cities of Constantinople, Cairo, and Damascus.
Drawing on painstaking original research and an intimate knowledge of the Near East, Thomas Asbridge 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 influence events today.
Thomas Asbridge is Reader in Medieval History at Queen Mary, University of London, and the author of The First Crusade. He lives in England.
“Brilliant, authoritative, and accessible, Thomas Asbridge’s THE CRUSADES is a must read. Asbridge balances impeccable scholarship with a gifted storyteller’s engaging voice. He vividly portrays the driving forces and personalities, the perspectives of Christians and Muslims, and the legacy of the Crusades in Christian and Muslim history and imagination.”
-Professor John L. Esposito, Director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, and author of The Future of Islam.
“A truly comprehensive history of holy war in the Holy Land. Emphasizing the dramatic Third Crusade and its heroic antagonists, Richard the Lionheart and Saladin, the narrative reads like an adventure story, albeit one that is both factual and instructive.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)