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There are a few topics that get short shrift in Asbridge's account, like the Albigensien Crusade and the People's Crusade. But if you want a comprehensive history of the wars fought in the Middle East, he's your guy. Asbridge writes with great narrative pace without sacrificing detail; he clarifies both the complex political history of Outremer and the moment-by-moment action of the great battles and sieges. The story is filled with great personalities - Saladin, Richard Lionheart, the sad Louis King of France, the brutal Baybars. A final chapter reflects on how the crusades have been used as reference points in later history. Derek Perkins' reading is brisk and interesting.
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