Why did the medieval Church bless William of Normandy's invasion of Christian England in 1066 and authorise cultural genocide in Provence? How could a Christian army sack Christian Constantinople in 1204? Why did thousands of ordinary men and women, led by knights and ladies, kings and queens, embark on campaigns of fanatical conquest in the world of Islam?
The word 'Crusade' came later, but the concept of a 'war for the faith' is an ancient one. Geoffrey Hindley instructively unravels the story of the Christian military expeditions that have perturbed European history, troubled Christian consciences and embittered Muslim attitudes towards the West. He offers a lively record of the Crusades, from the Middle East to the pagan Baltic, and fascinating portraits of the major personalities, from Godfrey of Bouillon, the first Latin ruler of Jerusalem, to Etienne, the visionary French peasant boy who inspired the tragic Children's Crusade.
Addressing questions rarely considered, Hindley sheds new light on pressing issues surrounding religious division and shows how the Crusades have helped to shape the modern world and relations between Christian and Muslim countries to this day. Geoffrey Hindley lectures internationally on medieval history. His many books include The Shaping of Europe, Saladin: A Biography, The Book of Magna Carta and A Brief History of the Crusades.
He also co-founders of the Society for the History of Medieval Technology and Science. He lives in France.
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- Deep Reader
Confusing in audio format
I found it very difficult to follow the flow of this book. Incidents were described "serially" rather than "chronologically" so that someone who died in one story line would play a prominent role in a story line much later in the book. In written form, this might not have been an issue, but I found it a confusing listen.
The reader did an okay job some times, but seemed to lack interest in the contents of the book. As an example, when starting a new chapter, the words "Chapter Two" or whichever was read almost as part of the previous sentence rather than being emphasized.
As I mentioned above, this book would probably be fine in written form. There were lots of details throughout and despite my confusion I did learn a few interesting details.
- Timothy D. Sowell