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 Christianity fought for dominion of the Holy Land, clashing in a succession of chillingly brutal wars: the Crusades. Here for the first time is the story of that epic struggle told 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, revealing how these holy wars reshaped the medieval world and why they continue to influence events today.
“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.”
“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.”
The Crusades is an authoritative, accessible single-volume history of the brutal struggle for the Holy Land in the Middle Ages. Thomas Asbridge—a renowned historian who writes with “maximum vividness” (Joan Acocella, The New Yorker)—covers the years 1095 to 1291 in this big, ambitious, readable account of one of the most fascinating periods in history. From Richard the Lionheart to the mighty Saladin, from the emperors of Byzantium to the Knights Templar, Asbridge’s book is a magnificent epic of Holy War between the Christian and Islamic worlds, full of adventure, intrigue, and sweeping grandeur.